Sunday, January 30, 2011

You Say Tomato, I Say Jalapeno

This just ran in the Patch yesterday & today.  I think it's the number one article on Macungie again.  Woo Hoo!

My grocery store had a sale on canned tomatoes, so I'd purchased massive quantities; my family likes all things tomato based. Then when I was making spaghetti sauce, I threw in a can. When I tasted it, though, there were flavor notes that aren't normally found in spaghetti sauce. I don't remember my sauce leaving a hint of "Holy Cows, why is my mouth burning?"

I went looking for the can of tomatoes and realized that I'd dumped a can of "zesty Mexican style with green chilies and jalapenos" into my normally (and much preferred) mild spaghetti sauce. Typically, as one would presume, I prefer sauce that plays nicely with the pasta – instead of setting it on fire.

Opening my cupboard, I realized that I had can after can of the spicy Mexican style, in addition to "Italian style with basil, garlic and oregano" and "fire roasted garlic with sweet onions". There was one lone can of my targeted diced tomatoes. All those cans of Italian style, which would have happily been fortuitous, yet I managed to pick the can of Mexican tomatoes. Another proud Lucy moment for me!

I ended up trying to turn my simmering pot of whatever it was into something that was similar to chili. To this day, I have no clue if my kids were being kind because they felt sorry for me, or if they actually liked it. I'm a mom; I'm going with the latter.

Things like this have begun to happen to me more and more often, but my slow slide into senility has manifested itself most often in the grocery store. For example, my son, Boy, asked me if I was aware that we have two large labs. I joked, "Nope; I thought they were Cocker Spaniels and have been quite surprised by their size explosion."

He proceeded to hold up the tiniest dog bone I'd ever seen. The bones I'd bought were for small breeds – hence the picture of a beagle on the box. I figured it was a doggie close up; at least that's what I told him. He quipped, "Let's hope the bones, like the dogs, take a shocking turn of events and in time, get bigger on their own."

I've brought home bottles of diet soda that I couldn't drink because the artificial sweetener gives me a headache. I've made cakes that rose a foot above the pan (like a soufflé) because I made the recipe according to plan, including the rising ingredients. Unfortunately, I'd accidentally purchased self rising flour.

Here's a head's up, should you ever do that; don't be surprised when as the cake cools, it deflates and you end up with a cantaloupe sized crater in your cake. This has happened to me a few times, for varying reasons (too many to list here). Let's just say that I now make triple batches of icing to cover my myriad of cake-tastrophies. The real trick is to pretend that I meant to do it. I could win an Oscar.

The embarrassing thing is that I remember joining my kids in their good natured ribbing of their grand mother, Gretchen, for the exact same thing! I remember the time she bought a butter substitute that had roasted garlic and olive oil. Now, on toast, that might be really good. But, the combination of garlic and cinnamon bun is a taste treat never to be forgotten; and not in a good way. “Silly Gretchen, how do you not see the label?” we’d tease. Karma takes no prisoners.

Now, she's my only source of comfort as I suffer the volley of jokes lobbed my way after I bring home bottles, cans, and boxes of all manner of unintended items.

These days, my kids enjoy the "sport" of going to the grocery store with me – they're constantly amazed at how my mind works. At the very least, they congregate in the kitchen as I put groceries away – carefully examining and snickering. Let me tell you, I completely intend to have at least one trip back from the store sporting the actual list of items that I went there for in the first place! And I also plan to hit the lottery; they both have pretty much the same chance of happening.

For now, it's entertaining when Gretchen and I go grocery shopping together as it's always an adventure when it's time to put them away. And on the bright side, we've come up with some pretty interesting flavor combinations.

In the meantime, I'm making chili tonight, and I'm bound and determined to dump in the correct can of tomatoes. But who am I kidding? I'll probably dump a can of Italian style in the pot. South of the Italian border chili, anyone?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Much Ado about Lucy

Boy, a lot has happened since I updated this blog!  I'll try to do better, it's just that I've spent the last year battling breast cancer.  You can see that blog here, called, "The Brunette Lucy vs. Breast Cancer, & Cancer Can Suck It".  I have more to write about over there as well.  But, on to the HAPPY news!

I've been writing my column again, & it's being carried in a new online newspaper called, "The Patch".  It's been picked up by three cities, but my "home page" is here.  I'm going to begin copying & pasting the articles that have since been published, since I got nothing new at this time.  Wait, I did see this:

"Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes". 

Now I've officially got nothing.

Below is an article that ran during December.   

Following the Pink Rainbow

The Plethora of Barbie Paraphernalia is Staggering

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Is it just me, or was Christmas easier when the kids were young? When my girls were little, I only had to keep two things in mind when buying toys: pink and Barbie. Generally, they were one and the same and the only thing on my daughters' list. I'd head to the toy store and follow the pink rainbow that ended in an overflowing Barbie pot of gold.
I'm amazed at the staggering amount of Barbie paraphernalia that's out there to be purchased, and how much of it was purchased by ME. You'd think that a small, eleven-and-a-half inch plastic doll would be easy on the pocketbook, but nothing could be further from the truth.
First, there was Barbie and her clothes, which included, but wasn't limited to, bathing suits, business suits, pants suits, mini skirts, halter dresses, t-shirts, shorts and a wide array of pajamas. Every designer worth their salt designed evening wear for the perky princess.
Barbie also needed shoes, purses, necklaces, and even hairbrushes. All of these items were in miniature form, making them the first things to get lost on Christmas morning, only to be found in the middle of the night – embedded in your foot. The day after Christmas, Barbie's myriad of clothes and accessories are strewn about the house and like the proverbial sock lost in the dryer, the odds of a pair of Barbie shoes meeting up again are slim to none. Most Barbies are doomed to hobble the Earth, wearing only one pump.
Along with a larger wardrobe and jewelry collection than most royal families, Barbie needed homes to house her accoutrement. But not just any house; she needed a "Dream House." Not content with a house that dreams were made of, Barbie also seemed to need a vacation house. Apparently, she also needed a three story "Dream Town House," a "My House." a "Totally Real" house, and a "Pink World" house (which I find pretty redundant – all things Barbie are pink; you wouldn't think it was necessary to point that out).
Barbie had rapidly grown into a Trump-esque bastion of real estate. I believe the most recent, modest number of homes available to her is nineteen. I don't know if I've ever owned nineteen of anything!
Just in case you thought you were done housing Barbie, you have to furnish her vast empire, with actual furniture. The first in waves and waves of furniture was labeled "dream," and of course it was. The problem was for parents, those dreams turned into costly nightmares. There was a Dream Sofa and living room set, Dream Bedrooms, Dream Kitchens, and yes, even a Pink Dream Bathroom. I kid you not – Barbie even has her own Dream Hot Tub.
It turns out that Barbie needed a boyfriend, who came in the person of the perfect Ken doll. Ken is a must-have for Barbie fans, even though after he's purchased, he spends most of his time out in the Barbie garage. And just when you thought the outlay of money would stop after Barbie had a closet full of clothes, shoes, accessories and the perfect All-American boyfriend, you find out that Barbie needs friends. Lots and lots of friends.
First came Midge, who, frankly, got the short end of the stick. She wasn't nearly as curvy (read sexy) or attractive as her best friend and of course, there wasn't a specific boy doll made for poor Midge. Next came Skipper, Stacey, PJ, Christie, Francie, Tutti, Kelly, and on and on and on it went. Plastic dolls were occupying every nook and cranny of the house, in between couch cushions, in wash machines and bathing in sinks full of sudsy water. Oddly, they never seemed to be content in their dream home.
But if a girl has a house, then she needs transportation to get to and from the grocery store, clothes store, and friend's houses. This is how the Barbie convertible was born. The first generation was cheap plastic, and getting Barbie and her friends in and out of said vehicle was a pretty exhausting endeavor. Oftentimes, hair, shoes and articles of clothing were snagged on the cheap plastic.
Never one to settle for less than everything, Barbie added a Glam VW Beetle, Glam Corvette, Glam Boat, and even a glam RV. I guess even when you own several large homes, you need to get away in a small one. The one thing I don't think that Barbie has ever owned is a tent; but I could be wrong. There's probably even a Survivor Barbie by now.
I can't complain, since I fed the growing Barbie giant. Little girls were addicted to all things "B" and beginning in October, Mattel trotted out all kinds of things that our gal just can't be without. I'm fairly certain that even The Donald acknowledges her supremacy in the toy dominion. And, like The Donald, Barbie even had her own jumbo jet.
On the bright side, my girls would play with Barbie for hours. Their friends would come over, toting their very own plethora of Pink Princesses, but I barely heard a peep out of them. Even though all of Barbie's earthly physical needs had been met, the girls used their imaginations to create the world she lived in. And thankfully, that world was usually peaceful and tastefully decorated.
That is, until their brother brought GI Joe, his army buddies, tanks, flame throwers and combat helicopters over. 

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy
She was pretty dumb.