Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#42 He Eats Easy Meals...and likes them too!

I'm going to share with you the easiest meal I know how to make. It's actually one of my favorites.

And, it's not mac and cheese.
It's not canned soup.
It's not pasta.

It involves one of the most beautiful things that a busy woman could own:

A crock pot.

Oh, yes.

Literally, this meal takes five minutes of prep time.

Unfortunately, using the crock pot takes 4-8 hours of cook time. I'm sure you could cook it in the oven for shorter, but then it doesn't have that, 'I sat and cooked for four hours' feel to it.

All you need is:

1. Chicken

I like to use leg quarters. You might ask, why? And I'll tell you why by showing you this:

Can't beat 69 cents a pound.

Unless, of course, they were 68 cents a pound.

2. Italian dressing seasoning

This stuff works magic. Mix a pack in with a pint of sour cream, instant dip. Mix a pack with some oil and vinegar, instant dressing. Mix a pack with water and chicken, instant dinner. (Well, not so instant when you consider the slow cooker part...)

Pour the seasoning over the chicken.

Then, pour a cup of water per pack of dressing over the dressing seasoning covered chicken.
(That made sense, I promise).

Now it's slow cookin' time. I meant to put it on high for four hours. But, put it on low for two hours and then realized my mistake. I through it on high at that point, and it still came out beautiful.

I serve with rice to try and be a little on the healthier side. But, I have made mashed potatoes with it and it is truly delightful either way. Make sure you spoon the juices all over everything and make a nice sloppy mess.

It's the only way to really enjoy this meal.

Monday, February 27, 2012

#41 He Took Me to See a Silent Film

A week or so ago I watched Midnight in Paris with my honey and saw my life in film. I'm going to tell you all about the movie that matters without telling you anything about the movie. This guy, who is a writer (like me, but not like me because, well, he gets paid to write) ends up being able to go back in time to the 1920s. This just so happens to be a time when a great deal of famous writers and artists were alive. It also just so happens to be the time period that this guy and I should have been born in.

The only problem is, that would make me older than my grandmother.

The movie was okay, but unfortunately, the end just reaffirmed for me that the present day lacks a certain appeal that the 20s held.

One thing which was popular in the 20s, yet also found its demise in the late 20s was the silent film. This year, 2012, The Artist, an almost completely silent film, graced the silver screen.

This past Sunday hubby and I went to the movies.

We went to the movies because we wanted to go out.

We went to the movies because we had tickets that hubby's uncle got us discounted from Costco.

(Because who in their right mind would actually pay $11 x 2 to see a movie that they don't know for sure is going to be slam bang awesomely incredible?).

We went to the movies to see The Artist because it was the only movie that I said I'd be willing to see, even at a discounted price.

I had no idea what to expect. I knew the movie had gotten great reviews. And had heard something or other about it having to do with silent films. Silent films are old. "I like things that are old," I thought.

It was fantastic. As a lover of the 20s and a lover of movies that purposely choose to crossover from what is expected and commonly done, to something completely unique and out of the ordinary, I was very pleased.

As I began watching the movie and came to the realization that the movie indeed would be all silent, I began thinking, "Oh no, what have I done? This is going to be terrible. Lance won't like it, even worse, I won't like it. " I worried I would walk away as disappointed as I had from the movie J.Edgar (Leo, you failed me).

But after this tiny panic overcame me, I found myself laughing, intrigued, and simply entertained. There are two things I found fascinating in watching a silent movie.

1. Movies today are filled with excessive talk.

It was amazing that just someone's facial expressions and movements could convey the same message that a paragraph of dialogue explains. The actors were sensational, perfectly chosen for a film of this type. The story line kept me intrigued and there was not a moment that I felt bored or uninterested.

2. You have to be a lot quieter in a theater when watching a silent movie.

The only sound you hear is music, which was written to match brilliantly along with specific moments of the film. Many scenes, however, are without music. The second the film began (after the obnoxiously loud commercials) you could have heard a pin drop. I'm pretty sure the people sitting behind us were sorry that they had bought popcorn. When the movie began, their popcorn bag crackled and crunched, and as the silence overcame the room their sounds also stopped.

I walked away glad to have gone to the movies that night and even more glad deep down in my soul that there is someone out there sharing my love and passion for things of nostalgic significance.

#40 He Loves My Mom

To my mother...

One day, a little girl loved you very much.

So much, she wanted to be just like you.

You were everything to her. To be away from you meant she would never see you again. So, she never left your side.

You were good to her. You filled her with excitement of simple things like tea parties, and high heels, and cooking dinner.

This crazy thing called adolescence hit and she still loved you, but it was harder for her to show it. You were still good to her though. You filled her with excitement of simple things like making music, and getting good grades, and following Jesus.

Then she decided to become a teenager. You spent a lot of time together now, as always, you were good to her. You filled her with excitement of simple things like writing about what made her happy, and playing her instrument, and loving her family.

Then she fell in love. You were worried and happy and scared for her all at once. And even though she wasn't always there, you were still good to her. You filled her with excitement of simple things like working her first job, and going to college, and chasing her dreams.

Then she became a bride. You still saw her, a lot, but seeing her a lot still felt like less. You never complained. You always were good to her. You filled her with excitement of simple things like being a good wife, and owning a home, and teaching others.

Time continues to go on, yet, the little girl has never forgotten how good to her you always were. Sometimes far away, sometimes right by your side, she sits hoping that she can fill you with excitement of simple things like laughter, and Friday night dinners, and a daughter who loves you very much.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

#39 He Recognizes Valentine's Day for What it is--and spoils me regardless

I love my husband every day of the year.

We both choose spontaneous moments to show our love through food, love notes, food, gifts, and more food.

We both also have our share of authentic 'I love you' moments. These are moments when we are together doing something totally random like driving to Wawa at 11:38 pm and one of us blurts their declaration of love out nonsensically. And when asked in return, "Why?" we come up blank because it's almost impossible to put words to a feeling that bursts within just because your spouse doesn't think you are crazy for wanting a donut at 11:38 pm.

(And I often want donuts at 11:38 pm).

Valentine's Day is not among my favorites. In fact, I would ignore it completely if I didn't feel that by ignoring it everyone I know would look at me like I am a two-headed, heartless dragon who roams about the land feeding on hopeless romantics gushing over with sappiness.

Valentine's Day has always felt to me like a forced day, made to make people feel either that they need someone to love romantically or that they must overwhelm their lover with an abundance of cliche gifts in order to spell L-O-V-E.

Then the rest of the year love is hardly ever mentioned.

I know I'm loved, I feel it greatly, so I don't need this day.

But to save myself from the dragon persona, we celebrate.

When we first got married we set some Valentine's Day ground rules.
  1. No presents, unless something strikes your fancy and you want to label it a "Valentine's Day gift" rather than a "Surprise, I love you, gift".
  2. Every other year, you are responsible for dinner plans.
My favorite year so far was when it was Lance's first year to plan dinner. He said he would be cooking dinner, yet didn't show up home from work until 7:30 pm. Meanwhile, I had been ferociously roaming about the house (I'm a Valentine's Day dragon after all, I might as well roam about ferociously). I was so hungry that I was ready to kill the first living thing I saw and cook it up for dinner. He walked through the door, calm and relaxed, and told me to go upstairs.

I stomped my way upstairs, sure that I would not be eating until 9 pm, if then. Ten minutes later I was called downstairs to the dining room to come upon the realization that he had called ahead our dinner order at a local steakhouse and brought it home.

Life was good. Life was so good.

This year may have topped that experience.

Do you know the beauty of jumbo sized sea scallops?

Gaze upon it:

I never liked seafood before my husband. While I cannot say that I am an enthusiast today, I can say one thing, I love me some scallops. They are, to me, the filet minon of the sea.

And he bought and made them just for me.

I didn't mean to make those last two sentences rhyme, but they did, deal with it.

I requested the side dish when I knew he was making me scallops. See, the first time I had jumbo sea scallops was at a hibachi grill.

So naturally, I needed some hibachi grill-esque rice to go with:


This part was a surprise:

Crumbs cupcakes are gigantic and filled with delight. We first had them in NYC when we accidentally stumbled upon their shop. Actually, it was more like, we walked by, then retraced our steps backwards and had to wipe the drool off their window. Then, we proceeded to walk into the shop and buy all their cupcakes.

All in all, I'd say I had a fantabulous Valentine's Day, but then again, Saturday will be just as great. And so will Sunday....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

#38 He is Slow to Anger

This weekend I experienced my greatest gaffe as a wife so far. There are two tales I must tell before allowing you to hear of this misfortune.

The first tale:

When expecting visitors, I have this strange tick about me...I like my house to be neat.
I also have another strange tick, I don't mind if the house looks neat but secretly is bursting behind closed doors with dirty laundry and dirty dishes.
Therefore, clothing that was meant to be on hangers, yet somehow never found its way there, is thrown into baskets and shoved into the hall closet. Dirty dishes who never cleaned themselves are piled and stored in the stove.

(Believe me folks, it has been much worse than this)

The second tale:

Every other Saturday my husband cooks dinner.
Every other Saturday my husband cooks salmon for dinner.
There is a reasoning behind this.
I don't want to cook salmon, but I want to eat salmon.
So, every other Saturday my husband cooks salmon and we like this arrangement just fine.

Now, the misfortune:

This Saturday we were expecting late morning visitors. Therefore, my cleanliness tick came into action and the house appeared spotless.

This Saturday was also salmon night. My husband went about making the feast as I sat two rooms away, enjoying my couch and a movie.

I knew everything was alright when I heard him begin doing the dishes. He had to of retrieved the dishes I had thrown into the stove earlier, so there was no need to mention the obvious: that I had put a lot of dishes into hiding in the stove.

Thirty minutes later, as the salmon was pulled out of the broiler I heard my first name spoken with an air of complete disbelief in the firmest and loudest way ever uttered by my beloved.

Before it had completely left his lips I knew what disaster had befallen in the kitchen.

My initial thought was to allow amnesia to overcome me. However, I am a horrid actress, therefore I thought about running for the door and never looking back.

This is perhaps because I knew the worst of it without even stepping into the kitchen to take actual witness to it myself. You see, the skillets, the pans and even the Corelle dishes would be able to withstand the broiling temperature, therefore I knew the disbelief in his voice did not come from that section of the stove. However, the four or five plastic plates I had thrown on the bottom of the dirty dish pile led me to mentally picture the horror scene that my husband was staring upon and to wish deeply that closing my eyes would make it all disappear.

Some overwhelming form of courage rose within me, prompting me off my couch, into a sane state of mind, away from escaping to the front door, and into the kitchen. The stove was open, and a small puff of white smoke began to spread out into the air filling the house with the smell of burnt plastic.

He didn't say a word, which scared me a little so I instantly went for a pot holder, pulled the pile of plastic dishes from the stove, and tossed them into the trash. The bottom plate was the only one that had melted from its plate form and there was a tidy pool of yellow plastic at the bottom of the stove, and drippy drops falling off the rack where the dish had sat.

He got a spatula, cleaned all the melted plastic out of the stove and that was that.

(The leftovers)

Thank God he is everything that I am not. Had the situation been reversed, his name would certainly not have been the only word to leave my mouth upon viewing the monstrosity that lay waiting in the stove.

And, we both might not have made it out of that kitchen alive.