Thursday, October 30, 2008

happy halloween

PB&J has been in a real quandry, wondering what he should be for Halloween this year.

Should he dress up as a Hunter?

A Chainsaw Massacre-er?

A Backwoodsman?

Or a Yogi?

Hard to say.

In the end, he has decided to be a Devoted Husband for Halloween, and is taking me out of town for a mini-vacay this weekend.

My Mom and Dad are going to be Surrogate Parents for Halloween. If you see them at the Trunk-or-Treat or at the school costume parade, give them a high-five for me, will you? (And let them know their Parent costumes are very realistic!)

Hope your Halloween is Spook-tacular!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

trading treats tuesday

Part of the Corn Scout slogan is:

"Do a Good Turn Daily."

I, myself, did a good deed today. Not to brag or anything.

And, because I'm all about immediate gratification, I didn't wait to receive blessings in heaven.

I rewarded myself with this:
A strawberry nutella crepe.

And it was oh-so-good.

That, my friends, is my treat this Trading Treats Tuesday:

Strawberry Nutella Crepes.

Warm, gooey, fruity goodness.

Many moons ago, before my little sister Competitive Kate abandoned me, she and I used to treat ourselves and share a Strawberry Nutella Panini. They were really good. Until the stupid restaraunt decided to quit making them. In protest, we withdrew our endorsement of that place entirely (if you're a local, it rhymes with Poopas.) And then Kate moved and that was the end of that entirely. But if she were still here, I would have taken her with me for crepe-y goodness. (Wish you were here. :( Did you send my birthday present home with PB&J??)

If you want to know where to go to partake of such goodness, ask me in the comments and I'll let you know. It rhymes with My Egg Rolls -- but they only sell gelato and crepes, not nasty mass produced chinese food.

Good stuff.

What's your treat today??

crepe picture originally downloaded by LexnGer

Sunday, October 26, 2008

dressed to impress

I came home from my meeting this morning just in time to get the family and go to church.
When I walked in, I beheld the Youngest Carrotstick, sitting at the kitchen table, just finishing his lunch, clean, dressed, and ready to go.

On closer inspection, I noticed his collar looked a little skawampus. And then I realized why.

Friday, October 24, 2008

lettuce wraps

The other day, the Oldest Carrotstick called me and asked if I would take her and some friends to lunch. Trying to be the good mom, the mom you can count on, the mom who chooses her battles and which hill she is going to die on, I agreed.

But I almost disagreed when the Oldest Carrotstick and 5 boys walked over to my car.


Did you catch that?


Ok. At least she couldn't be in love with all of them. But what if they were all on her top five?? Then what????

Deep breath.

Still breathing.

Ok. So. The kids wanted to go to the local chinese all-you-can-eat buffet.

Our very noisy group went in, got our seats, and then went right for the buffet. But when we sat down to eat, it was dead SILENT except for the occasional gasp as the boys paused momentarily to come up for air. The Oldest Carrotstick and I were amazed at the sheer volume of food those boys pounded. I'm sure the proprietor shook his head when they walked in, knowing that his profits for the afternoon would be quickly eaten away.

Finally, a tower of dirty plates later, the ever-hopeful manager was distributing the "it's time for you to leave NOW" fortune cookies, and their growing boy/man-sized hunger was at last sated. But not before the memory of a little fortune cookie prank had snuck to my mind and I couldn't get rid of it.

Cue the flashback:

Several years ago, we went to visit my sister, Farm Girl, and her husband, Mr. Beaver Mtn. in Logan. One night we went to a local Chinese restaurant famed for their Tiny Spicy Chicken and a surprisingly large carp in a disgustingly dirty fishtank. After dinner, Farm Girl told us an ancient Chinese Secret: in order for the fortune in your fortune cookie to come true, after you break open the cookie, you must, without reading it, dip the paper in your drink and then plaster it onto your forehead. Everyone at the table must read it first, before you can take it off and read it yourself. Once you've read it, wad the fortune into a little tiny ball and swallow it. Then, and only then, will all your chinese fortune cookie dreams come true.
I couldn't resist. It was a little like the bridal shower I went to this spring. I couldn't help myself. I, an adult authority figure misused my powers to convinced these silly silly kids to eat paper. One by one, they broke open their cookies, pasted their fortunes on their foreheads, and then looking at me for reassurance -- which I gave them with a big thumbs up -- wadded them up in a ball and tossed 'em back with a swig of lemonade.

It was awesome.

And then they did it again.

And again.

I reassured them that the paper was just a bit of added fiber.

I know they appreciated the added bonus of a little extra regularity.

Even now I have to smile when I think about it. I wonder if their parents will ever let me take them anywhere again.

But, I promise I won't mislead you on this Good Food Friday.

This Good Food Friday, grab a bag of fortune cookies and whip up a batch of

Lettuce Wraps Will Keep You (on the) Straight and Narrow

8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp dry sherry
2 tsp water
salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
5 tbsp oil
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, minced
2 small dried chilies, (optional)

1 (8 oz) can bamboo shoots, minced
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, minced
1 package cellophane Chinese rice noodles, prepared according to package

Cooking Sauce:
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
Iceberg lettuce "cups" leaves (or Bibb or Romaine)

Cover mushrooms with boiling water, let stand 30 minutes then drain. Cut and discard woody stems. Mince mushrooms. Set aside. Mix all ingredients for cooking sauce in bowl, and set aside.
In medium bowl, combine cornstarch, sherry water, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and chicken. Stir to coat chicken thoroughly. Stir in 1 tsp. oil and let sit 15 minutes to marinate.

Heat wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add 3 TBSP oil, then add chicken and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.

Add 2 TBSP oil to pan. Add ginger, garlic, chilies(if desired), and onion; stir fry about a minute or so. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts; stir fry an additional 2 minutes.
Return chicken to pan. Add mixed cooking sauce to pan. Cook until thickened and hot. Break cooked cellophane noodles into small pieces, and cover bottom of serving dish with them. Then pour chicken mixture on top of noodles. Spoon into lettuce leaf and roll.

These are yummy. And they are good for you. I'm not lying. Seriously. And the cellophane noodles are cool to make -- they are the ones that puff up really fast when you put them in hot oil. But, the wraps are ok without them, if you don't want to mess with another step.

Really. Trust me! Would I ever mislead you?



I promise.

chinese buffet picture by Midtown Lunch

Thursday, October 23, 2008



Apparently I lost most of you on my last post.

You probably clicked away from my blog, scratching your head and thinking "huh?"

Treat=Poet(ry)? Doesn't really make sense.

Reaching, my friends. That is what we call reaching, or even: grasping.

Yesterday the Oldest Carrotstick

(who is not seeing eye to eye with me much this week)

accused me of not being "real" on my blog.

So here it is

The Real Truth of it All:

Are you ready?

Brace yourself.

Being The Mom is hard.

metimes I feel like my soul is being sucked out of me.

It's probably lodged in the vacuum with all the dog hair and dust bunnies.

I don't know for sure.

On the flip side, at times, the Oldest Carrotstick thinks I'm the Dementor to her Harry Potter. (Remember Killer of Joy?)

And sometimes the Oldest Carrotstick thinks I'm mean.

(I am.)

And sometimes I have to remind myself that the Oldest Carrotstick's brain is slowly being rewired during these trying teen-age years.

(It is.)

And that, my friends, is the real 4-1-1.

She is a good, darling girl.

I LOVE her.

I still love being a mom.

But motherhood can have it's moments, all the same.

That's when it's good, very good, to read this talk by Elder Ballard from April General Conference.

We will survive.

(but thank goodness PB&J -- the Great White Hunter-- is back.)

Just trying to keep it real.

fish picture originally downloaded by imapix
wire picture originally downloaded by Janet Leadbeater

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

trading treats tuesday and a winner!

Lest my last post has led you to believe harbor some resentment or deep dislike for poets, let me immediately decry that idea.

I have the highest regard for really good poets and poetry. I think this part of Tate's poem is genius:

"Then Dr. Bluespire leaned over his shoulder
and whispered into his ear:
"You look like a god sitting there.
Why don't you try writing something?"

Genius! I tell you!

And poetry seems to be a great way to express ideas difficult to convey in regular prose.

It's just that so often poetry doesn't go beyond the typical AA BB CC rhyme pattern --


Mary had a little lamb --
It was a girl, and not a ram.

It followed her to school one day
And there for 12 years had to stay.

And when 'twas time to grad-u-ate
Her love for learning did not sate

Lo, six more years did pass away
The lamb had earned her M.B.A.

See, it rhymes, but it's not great poetry by any means.

So, all poetry is not created equal. That little rhyme by no means compares to Shakespeare, or the artist commonly known as Shakespeare -- whoever he really was.

Once, a long long time ago, I had to take a class called "The Rhetoric of Shakespeare". It was taught by a man named Gideon. Not the Gideon of Gideon's Bible. But his name did bring to mind the youngest brother in 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. I longed to call him
just one time.
I waited, in vain, the entire semester for this Gideon to break out in song and dance on the rafters at a barn raising. It would have made class much more interesting. Especially since it was a night class, and those are incredibly long and somewhat mind numbing.

One thing Professor Gideon did do -- long may his tenure reign -- was make us write a Shakespearian type sonnet -- a fourteen line poem, in iambic pentameter. As an example, he wrote a lovely sonnet to Toast. I, myself, failed miserably in sonnet writing. I kept trying to force the meter, and he would not let me get away with it. I rewrote and rewrote and rewrote. I don't think I ever got it right. And I won't even tell you what my grade was.

All of that is just to say that I do admire and respect a good poet and his/her work.

So for this Trading Treats Tuesday, I am celebrating: Poetry, especially if it says what we ourselves can't find the words to say. And I'm also admiring -- poets who choose to write in iambic pentameter and do it right.

In parting, let me share one of my favorite works of performance art. Just a word of warning, the subject matter is definitely not G rated. Maybe more PG. It's Mike Meyers. What more can I say.

Oh wait! Before we part ways, I must announce the winner of my giveaway! After an extremely random generation: Nanette wins! I'll send you your loot ASAP. As always, thanks for playing!

And, last but not least,

What's your treat for today?!

Monday, October 20, 2008

pms poem monday

one thing about life,
a sense of humor helps you survive.

though pms tends to suck the humor from my humerus (which makes for a very bad time for the Carrotsticks. But not PB&J, as somehow he always manages to be gone. I'm starting to think that PB&J plans his trips according to my calender of doom. He really should try to stick around at this time of the month for the benefit and well-being of all.). All asides aside, I somehow scraped together enough leftover crumbs of humor to find the following poem funny --

funny because the poet pokes snarky fun at poets in general -- who, as a group, seem to take themselves all too seriously -- why else do they wear all black, or tweed sportcoats with elbow patches and turtlenecks? or fedoras? or bowties? -- things that make no sense at all. A blatant stereotype, I know. But most stereotypes are based on some fact.

so, without further ado, a little pms snarkiness for your enjoyment

James Tate

They didn't have much trouble
teaching the ape to write poems:
first they strapped him into the chair,
then tied the pencil around his hand
(the paper had already been nailed down).
Then Dr. Bluespire leaned over his shoulder
and whispered into his ear:
"You look like a god sitting there.
Why don't you try writing something?"


gorrilla picture originally downladed by Timmy Toucan

Sunday, October 19, 2008

warning: the following is not for the faint hearted

Some of you might find the following pictures a little disturbing. I must warn you, in advance, of this. Viewer discretion is advised, especially if you are not a card carrying member of the eN-aRe-A. If you are ok with the whole gun thing, read on.

Right now, even as we speak, PB&J is out of the state on some big fancy guided deer and elk hunt.

He has spent the last couple of weeks obsessing -- I mean, preparing -- for the hunt. He's even let the kids in on the fun. A couple of weeks ago we took a little trip to hills, and the hillbilly in our heritage came out.

Hence the following pictures of the Clampetts:

Here's Jethro -- with Jed in the back, supervising.
No, he's not holding that gun wrong. Thanks to our good friend, we found out this winter that the kid is left eye dominate. Who knew eye dominance mattered in shooting? Only a shooting enthusiast, I guess. So, though it looks weird, and a little awkward, he's doing it right -- for him. Only right's wrong.

And here's little Jethro Jr.:
Though he's sitting, that's called a stance. I think. Or maybe it's just a position. But it would be more oxymoronic if it were a sitting stance.

And look, a picture of that cute little Ellie Mae.

And even one of Granny. My, she certainly is one to be reckoned with.

Kind of a grumpy old gal, isn't she?

We are wishing PB&J (or Jed) good hunting. Success -- so he has fun -- but not enough success that he wants to mount a head. Granny here doesn't want to fight over hanging a mount in the house. Jed may say yes, but Granny says no way in hades. I'm still trying to convert him to my version of the eN-aRe-A -- No Racks Allowed.

In preparation for the spoils of the hunt, I have been pulling out my meat marinade recipes to have on hand. As I understand it, you gotta do something to kill that gamey taste.

So for this belated Good Food Friday, enjoy this recipe for

Real Manly Steak Soaked in Fancy Ex-o-Tic Sauces with Some of That There Rabbit Food on the Side

3 large garlic cloves, crushed with garlic press
½ c reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tblsp Asian sesame oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3 Tblsp sugar
4 Tblsp season riced vinegar
2 Tblsp plus 1 Tsp minced, peeled fresh ginger
1 ½ lbs beef skirt steak
1 c long-grain white rice
½ small head Napa cabbage (about 8 oz) thinly sliced (4 c)
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into matchstick-thin strips
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick-thin strips
3 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 Tblsp sesame seeds, toasted

In large ziploc bag, combine garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper, 2 Tblsp sugar, 2 Tblsp seasoned rice vinegar, and 2 Tblsp ginger; add steak, turning to coat well with mixture. Seal bag, pressing out excess air. Place bag on plate; refrigerate steak 1-2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

About 30 minutes before end of marinating, cook rice as label directs but do not add salt or butter.

In large bowl, toss hot cooked rice with cabbage, cucumber, carrot, half of green onions, 2 Tblsp rice vinegar, 1 Tblsp sugar, and 1 tsp ginger; cover and keep warm.

Remove steak from marinade. Pour marinade into small saucepan; add 1/3 c water. Heat to boiling over medium heat and boil 2 minutes; set aside. Heat grill, pan or cast-iron 12" skillet over medium heat until hot. Add steak and cook 10-13 minutes for medium rare, turning steak once. Transfer steak to cutting board; let stand 10 minutes to allow juices to set for easier slicing.
To serve, place rice salad on large platter. Thinly slice steak; fan slices on top of rice salad and drizzle with cooked marinade. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and remaining green onions before serving. Makes 6 main-dish servings

(Also known as Korean Salad with Grilled Steak.)

Granny here likes this here vittles recipe and has been makin' it fur years. Way back when you was just a little whippersnapper not even old enough to wear long pants. I reckon you ought to give it a try. Now, do as I tell you, and git some of your deer/elk steak out of the deep freeze have a go at it.

Did I hear a "yes, ma'am"?

That's what I thought.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

but i don't want to take one for the team

tonight, for our young women activity, we did team building activities.

including the dreaded trust fall.

i so don't enjoy the trust fall.

and don't think that peer pressure ends when you are a grown up.

then you just feel pressured to do things 'cause it's the right thing to do.

it's not fun.

okay, well, it's fun to watch, just not fun to do.

i think i was the only person that screamed.

how embarrassing.

and then BYU lost.

trust fall picture originally downloaded by wellohorld

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

trading treats tuesday, and . . . !!!!!

Did I ever tell you how much I love General Conference?

I really do.

But that's not my Treat for today. Oh no. Even though one of my favorite talks was by President Uchtdorf. (The Oldest Carrotstick really likes President Uchtdorf -- mostly because she thinks he has great hair.)

In his talk from the Relief Society Broadcast he talked about being creative and compassionate. It was good. You can read it here, if you missed it.

Now, even though my procreative powers haven't turned out to be very strong, I do like to make things. At one point, in a former life, I was even guilty of excessive scrapbooking. I know, it's hard to believe because I don't have a single scrapbook in my house. Actually, that's not true. I have two empty binders. But somewhere, floating around in my craft room, is a collection of finished random scrapbook pages. With that fact haunting my past, I do still regularly exchange "paper crafts" with some friends.

This last exchange did not go well -- for me. Everyone else's projects were cute and darling. But even after much weeping, wailing, and teeth gnashing, mine ended up being, well, just dumb. And ugly. And stupid. I felt guilty about even giving them to my friends. But something was expected, so I had to hand them over. I felt compelled to wear sunglasses and trenchcoat to the exchange, so no one would recognize me. Not really. But I thought about it.

The whole experience was very demoralizing. I was about ready to sell all my scrapbooking crap on eBay.

But President Uchtdorf's talk convinced me to try, try again. And then, our ward hosted a fun Super Saturday this last weekend where I became addicted to making these:
(They are silk flower clips. They are cute -- in case you couldn't tell. And I know why people sell these -- because they are so fun to make that they just can't stop, even though they don't need anymore themselves. I made them because they were there, but the Oldest Carrotstick is in love with them and has coordinated all her outfits this week to match the flower clips. She is wearing a yellow one today, clipped to a headband. She wore the purple center clip yesterday and said she even had a couple of boys compliment her on it. She thinks it's weird when boys notice those sorts of things. Wow!! I am really feeling chatty today. It's like I haven't talked to an adult in a month! I'm almost finished, I promise.)

So, long story short, the flower clips reaffirmed President Uchtdorf's talk -- creating is good. And, enjoying the good karma from the clips, I decided to remake my Halloween paper crafting projects. And they turned out so much better this time!

And guess what?

I made extras! So, if you want to leave me a little comment on this post -- and you have till the next Trading Treats Tuesday to comment -- I will enter all the comments into a bowl or Random Generator and pick a winner. And then next Tuesday, a little ghost might deliver the following collection of Halloween goodies on your doorstop, or mailbox.

There. I'm finally done.

My Treat: successful creativity.

Your Treat
: tell me, and you might win these: Cards.

And a candy canister.
You will only get one -- this is just to show you what the whole thing looks like. If I have a modicum of self-control, I'll put candy in it for you. But only if I don't eat it all first.

Really, you can enter even if you hate Halloween, or even if you think these cards are still ugly and stupid -- despite the reworking. Remember: regifting is the gift that keeps on giving!

Come on, play along. Let me do as President Uchtdorf counseled -- let me share the love.

Maybe if you really twist my arm, I'll make you a flower clip.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

and she seriously wore this to school

wanna closer look?
Monday was Crazy Hair Day and Tuesday was Clash Day.
No one can say she doesn't have Spirit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

smarty pants

I spent an hour in a car today with this group crazyswho laughed hysterically over and over and over and over while trying to say the following tongue-twister:
"One smart fellow, he felt smart."

Said over and over and over as fast as possible by a giggling group of boys it came out, more often than not:

"One smart fellow, he smelt fart."


ha ha




Tuesday, October 7, 2008

trading treats tuesday

In our community, the recreation department depends on talented, courageous parents to volunteer to coach the city youth sports teams. Occasionally, they have had a dearth of volunteers and have called here to see if anyone in our household is willing to coach. I very earnestly inform them that they would be better off with no coach, than with me. My prowess on the soccer field is, ummmm, well . . . non-existent.

So this Trading Treats Tuesday, I celebrate: Great Coaches! (PB&J would second that motion-- I think he has a man crush on Bronco Mendenhall.) But, for me, I rejoice in the fortitudinous parents that do volunteer to coach their kids -- and mine.

This year we were lucky -- my kids all had great coaches.

But, unfortunately, we did witness a few instances of bad coaching -- both on and off the soccer field.

Review the following examples and see if you can tell which is which:

Example 1:
Girl: (whining) Mooommmm, the girls keep yelling at me to center the ball, and I caaaaan't. It's toooo haaaard.

Mom: (consoling) Just do what your heart tells you, sweetie.

Example 2:
(overheard on the soccer field, clear from the neighboring football field)
Football Coach: (yelling) The reason we are LOSING is because my freaking linebackers are spinning around like freaking ballerinas!!!!

Example 3:
Coach: (to team) Ok, Rainbow Bright Warriors, we lost this game, but if you win all the rest of your games, you can shave my head at the end of the season!

Which example illustrates the most effective coaching methodology???
The Oldest Carrotstick is very excited to shave his head on Saturday with her team. Her coach is either very brave or very stupid. The only thing she has ever helped shave is the neighbors shih-tzu.

He should be very, very scared.

Monday, October 6, 2008

conference call

Dear Sisters:

As you know, General Conference was last weekend.

And you know how we like to commemorate conference -- listening to it on the radio as we camp in the mountains.
I was going to gloat about how beautiful the mountains were, and tell you how much fun we were going to have, and list all the yummy food we were going to make and eat, and in general, really rub it in, since you are so far away and wouldn't be able to join us this year. Just so I could make you jealous. (Aren't I a nice big sister?)

Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, we were unable to celebrate conference in the traditional way. Conference was wonderful, as usual. We really enjoyed it. But it would have been fun to be in the mountains.

And since my evil plan to make you jealous won't work, I'm going to have to settle for trying to make you homesick.

So, dear family, while you are far, far away, this is what your homeland looks like:
Enjoy our autumnal splendor!

Friday, October 3, 2008

toasted marshmallow kabobs

Dear Young Women and valiant Leaders:

Thank you for coming to my house the other night to make dinner for a sister in the ward. I'm sure her husband was very grateful he didn't have to cook when she came home with their new baby. Like the evil superstore says "Good works". (Just another example of the philosophies of men mingled with the Real Stuff).

Thank you also for not openly gagging at the appalling condition of my stovetop drip pans. I appreciate that you refrained from calling ch!ld protective services and the he@lth department after seeing how disgusting they were.

I am happy to report the following:
They are now scrubbed spotlessly clean. (If only Jenni's tag wanted pictures of my drip pans. I would be happy to comply. I'm still screwing up my courage to do the rest of her tag. Maybe for Halloween -- the pictures would be frightful.)

But, back to Good Food Friday.

Today, in honor of my labors, I am sharing another family recipe, complete with pictures.

This is a little something my mom taught me (thanks Mom!).

Agoraphobics Anonymous Official Roasted Marshmallows


bamboo skewer


miniature marshmallow

Turn the heat way up on your cooktop (this works with both gas and electric stoves.)
Insert stick into marshmallow, leaving enough stick exposed to hold onto.

Grasping the skewer/toothpick, hold the marshmallow over the heat source, rotating regularly. When uniformly browned, remove marshmallow from heat and eat -- being careful not to burn your mouth.

Though it is sometimes entertaining make a burnt offering of your marshmallow over a campfire, I don't recommend you try Flaming Death while inside. And of course, take all appropriate precautions, wear appropriate personal protective safety equipment, and just plain be smart when cooking.

One other option:

When Peeps Marshmallow Wonders of Creation are available in grocery stores, it is sometimes fun to roast them on a stick. The heat does beautiful things to the sugary coating. Mmmmmmmm.
Give it a try!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

at the end of the rainbow

Tonight was our very last night of soccer (Hallelujah)! This is the Oldest Carrotstick's team.

Have a good look at their glare grease. Rainbows. Not very intimidating, is it?

Not like this guy:
And, in fact, I would have to question the rainbows effectiveness at reducing glare.

Perhaps they should change their team name to the Rainbow Bright Warriors.

But don't let it fool you. Though the Oldest Carrotstick spent an inordinant amount of time hair fixin',
She's did even more butt kickin'. In fact, she is frequently in danger of getting a yellow card.

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? With soccer season now officially over, the Oldest Carrotstick's team finished first in their league.

Hurray for the Rainbow Bright Warriors!