An 80s Moment

Yes, I know. It’s been a while. Don’t start with me, I’m already having an 80s moment. Okay. Fine. It could also be defined as a PMS moment. Or a Last Week Was the Week From Hell moment. Really, you choose.

My dream job is now my day job, so as usual, feel free to go out and gift any of my books to all your friends and family so my new day job (freelance writer, editor, and author) could become my retirement. Loving the new day job, although I have to get it going a bit more, so see previous comment.

But last week, after returning from Snarky Daughter’s graduation present of a trip to Disney World – and how lucky am I to have a kid who wants her mom to go with her to Disney World after high school and before she’s forty – I came home to have to replace… the washing machine (which was as old as my daughter), the well pump (older than my daughter, and the mattress (nowhere near as old as my daughter). Just hush about why I needed to replace the mattress.

The mattress arrived yesterday and I got my first good night’s sleep in about four years. Which meant that this afternoon, all those purchases made while lacking a closet full of corporate clients or New York Times Bestsellers (mine, not the ones I buy), hit me full force.

I did what every sane woman does in such a moment. I looked for chocolate. Apparently Scout Son ate that while I was gone. I’d complain, but he also painted the barn and took care of the dog, so if it cost me some Hershey’s Kisses, oh well.

Digging in the pantry got me nothing… except a Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bar of premium chocolate. If you haven’t seen it, it’s exactly what it claims. Over a pound of really nice chocolate that I use for baking.

And then I remembered this…

Which led to me doing this…


Yes, really.

Reese’s does it better. Actually, Trader Joe’s does peanut butter cups really well. For the record, it’s probably better to get in your car and drive into the 80s, or at least to the nearest store, and get something created by a trained professional. Because while I can make Irish Cream Truffles that you’ll beg for, and I can write a romance novel that reminds you that happily ever after is something to strive for, I seem to lack the basic chocolate and peanut butter skills found on the average street corner in 1985.


Killing Me Softly with… Parsley

My devoted readers will remember that the weekend Girl Scout Cookies were delivered, my household went wheat-free. If you’re new and you stumbled here hoping there was some uber-secret Get Girl Scout Cookies now that girls aren’t selling them site, sorry to disappoint, but stick around.

We really miss pizza since going wheat-free. I think the only thing on that plate I can eat now is the tomato.
We really miss pizza since going wheat-free. I think the only thing on that plate I can eat now is the tomato.

It’s now been a little over two months without wheat, or mostly without wheat (there have been a couple of celebration meals that included pizza) and I feel…terrible. Everybody loses weight when they give up wheat. I was losing, on average, .25 pounds a week, and that was with me working out. I was losing strength, losing energy, my stomach was a mess.

Luckily, when I started down this little path through the amber waves of grain, I also scheduled a doctor’s appointment because according to everything I’ve read (yes, on the Internet), I have no hormones, and probably no thyroid. OK, I may have them, but they’re totally out of whack.

The happy day of my doctor’s appointment finally came around two weeks ago. We talked forever (more than the usual 20 seconds at a regular doctor’s office), and he and I agreed that I was probably allergic to something I was eating instead of wheat. My concern was that it was more than one thing, and I wasn’t really interested in taking the time to figure out what it was, when for the low, low price of $200 and five vials of blood, I could find out what I was allergic to.

I got the answers on Friday, ironically, while sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office so his vampire assistant could take yet another vial of blood. So I open the email and find out that I am allergic to literally everything I have been eating since going wheat-free. Basically, I was trying to commit suicide with parsley and pineapple. Not together. That would be gross.

This cow hates me. All cows hate me. Leather interior is looking better all the time. Or will that make my butt itch?
This cow hates me. All cows hate me. Leather interior is looking better all the time. Or will that make my butt itch?

I’m allergic to goat’s milk. I’m allergic to casein, which is found in all cow’s milk products. I’m allergic to almonds, pistachios and cashews. Melon. Yeast. Vanilla. Mustard?!!? Really? Brussel sprouts, so Totally Awesome Step-Mother can now stop telling me I should eat them because she has a great recipe. To be fair, she does have a great recipe, but I won’t be partaking anymore. Also, I now have proof that I am allergic to several types of fish and shellfish. And peanuts. Cranberries. Bananas. It’s a really impressive list.

In my typical fashion, I think I took the news fairly well. I calmly left the doctor’s office and drove to the nearest Cook Out where I ordered a CHEESEburger. On. A. BUN. With MUSTARD. French Fries. Onion Rings (which the last time I checked, involved wheat). And a Mint Chocolate Chip milkshake. If I could have found a way to add beer to the mix and really load up on yeast, I would have.

Yes, I got serious about this on Saturday. I didn’t have dairy all weekend. Yesterday, I had to make a cake for a Boy Scout Court of Honor. Since I wasn’t eating it, I used wheat. No, I was not about to waste $8/pound special flour on Boy Scouts.

Here’s where things got interesting. While making the cake, I had about two tablespoons of cake batter (containing wheat and milk), and probably the same amount of frosting. Both homemade by me. And totally worth it. Until about twenty minutes later when I started itching like fury and my allergies flared and my stomach decided I was the dumbest person on Earth.

Seriously?!!? I’d been off milk for 2.5 days! I’m still itchy today. Which might have something to do with the fact that my Boy Scout popcorn “contains milk ingredients.” Crap. That was just not something I thought to check. Stupid cow.

Oddly, while I cannot eat any cow byproduct, I have no allergies to the cow itself. Hello Filet Mignon. Goodbye parsley. And yes, I really am allergic to parsley, which is maybe the dumbest thing I’ve ever had to admit.

Hi. My name is Kim, and I’m allergic to parsley.


Day Two Wheat-Free

Crackers. Crackers. Crackers.

No, I don’t crave bread. I’m not a big sandwich person. But I would gladly kill for some crackers.

According to the book, people who don’t eat wheat will eat 300-400 fewer calories than people who eat wheat. I’m not sure how this is possible since all I want to do is eat everything that is not wheat in the hopes it will taste like…wheat.

See, this is the problem with binging on wheat last week. Now I’m going through withdrawal. Yes, there is wheat withdrawal.

But it will be worth it. And with all the time I’m saving by not stuffing my face with crackers, I am writing. And since I’m cranky, you know I’m torturing my characters.

They don’t want wheat. They want… well, we all know what they want. But they’re not getting any either. Hopefully by the time they do get some, I’ll be through my withdrawal and a happy camper again.

Without wheat.

Have I mentioned the 9 cases of Girl Scout Cookies that are still in my living room? I ordered 8 boxes of cookies before I got this great idea. Snarky Daughter bought 2 boxes, and Scout Son bought 1. That’s 11 boxes of cookies We. Can’t. Eat.

Just sitting there. Taunting us. Well, me. Because I am letting the kids have a cookie a day. At this rate, we’ll be out of cookies by Christmas.

All you folks who give stuff up for Lent? I have a whole new respect for you. Because that binge thing last week? I am paying for it now. The interesting thing is I know I’m not hungry as I’m lusting after crackers. I feel full. So I tell The Voice in my head to shut the hell up. I am not hungry. Because I’m not.


Channel your inner Gloria Gaynor here:

At first I was afraid, I was petrified

Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side…


I want to be healthier than my mom was. Yesterday I told you about how much pain I was in last week when I was eating all the wheat. But today’s Day Two and the pain is almost completely gone again. So is the swelling. I still have a headache, but I blame the coffee table.

Now, I just have to make it through Day Three. For those of you who haven’t ever tried cutting carbs out of your diet, Day Three is the day from hell. It’s the day the cravings are typically the worst.


Channel Gloria again. I will survive. I will survive! I will survive!!


Day One Wheat-Free

When I started telling friends and family that my family was going wheat-free beginning this week, the resounding response was, “Why?”

It’s a complicated answer, but here’s the basic deal. Studies are now showing that wheat isn’t good for us. In fact, it’s really bad. It’s been connected with increased symptoms of diabetes, asthma, allergies, migraines, Autism/Asperger’s, depression and a whole host of other things. The list is really long. And it contains pretty much every problem my mom was having when she died one month after she turned 65.

When I started listening to The Wheat Belly Diet book in the car two weeks ago, I got worried really quickly. Not only were my mom’s health issues on the laundry list, but so were my biggest issues (pain, inflammation and migraines) and Scout Son’s.

So I came home from a job interview and said, “Hey, guess what? We’re giving up wheat.”

But when I started sharing everything I learned, everybody was on board, even Sarcastic Roommate.

I know what you’re thinking. She’s crazy. Wheat’s been around for centuries. How can it be bad?

Well, here’s the deal. The wheat our grandparents and all the generations before them ate, had 14 chromosomes. But it was a bitch to grow. It’s tall. It’s prone to bugs and disease. So in the ’50s, scientists got the great idea to genetically alter it. And then did it. Today’s wheat is dwarf wheat, easier to grow, drought and bug resistant. And with 42 chromosomes, it’s barely related to the wheat we used to eat.

Now if we’d done some, I dunno, animal or human testing before releasing our miracle wheat on the population, we might have figured out that what we’d made was a health issue monster. But there were starving people to feed worldwide, and money to be made. And realistically, I’m not sure we had the testing know how back then to realize there was a problem.

Today, we know better. So, today, no wheat.

Want some more joyous data about today’s wheat? It triggers the same responses in the human body as heroin. Enjoy that bagel! And when you get off of wheat, you go through the withdrawal symptoms equivalent to quitting smoking. Headaches. Crankiness. Lethargy.

Now, I questioned some of what I read. I mean, seriously. Inflammation? Headaches? Pain? But last week, wanting to look and feel my best (and because we had all these wheat products in the house), I ate wheat. Hell, if I could have rolled around in it, I would have. I ate more wheat than I have eaten in months.

And I felt like shit. By day 3 of Eat the Wheat, I was ready for Vicodin for every injury I’ve had over the past ten years, and a bunch of those places were swollen again. I had headaches, stomach aches, and was always desperate for my next meal. It was insane.

So I was really happy when Day One came around. But I won’t lie. There’s some withdrawal going on here. And I have a humdinger of a headache, although that may be because the coffee table jumped up and beat me in the forehead. That’s the only possible explanation, because the other option is that I didn’t see the corner there, where it’s been for the past five years.

Anyway, it’s the end of Day One, I’m cranky and I have a Jumping Coffee Table induced headache. But I didn’t have wheat, which is saying a lot considering my family bought a total of 11 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from Snarky Daughter. The kids are tapering off wheat and can have a cookie a day. I’m trying to stay clean.


Wintery Mix aka Sleet

Ice. 1/10th of in inch of ice really doesn’t sound like much. Because. It. Isn’t. Unless you live in the South. Then, it’s a crisis. Here’s how yesterday went for me.

5:50am – Phone rings. Blindly reaching for phone to beat it from ringing a second time on Sarcastic Roommate’s day off, I accidentally hit some button that was not “talk.” And there went whatever the school system wanted to tell me regarding school. Sigh. Now I must leave bed and stumble into the living room to find a laptop and see that was so important. Right. School’s out at 11:00. THAT was information I needed at 5:50.

6:00 – Let dog outside. It’s 20something out there. Balmy. She’s a Doberman. No undercoat, so no doggy insulation. She should be an honorary member of the Polar Bear Club.

6:05 – Awake now, so hey, let’s do a killer yoga workout. Have I mentioned DDPYoga to y’all yet? It’s a really low impact aerobic yoga workout. And if the kids are coming home early, I want to find my inner peace early.

6:12 – Princess Cassie returns from her frolic outside. She must now curl up under multiple blankets and supervise my workout. Because yes, a Doberman adds inner peace to any workout. Have I mentioned three cats are whining at the baby gate at my door, reminding me, just in case I forgot, that yes, they do need Prozac in the morning.

7:20 – Borrow Sarcastic Roommate’s car to drive Snarky Daughter to her carpool. Discuss what to do if college class is not cancelled (which takes place after high school closes).

7:45 – Hello, shower. I love you. You are warm water. You are peace. There is no dog. There are no cats. Can I stay here forever? Well no, because then you couldn’t…

8:00 – Make Orange Cranberry Scones. Yum!

8:30 – Look out window while eating scones and reading morning blogs – oh hey, it’s snowing! Three hours before forecasted. Wonder how long before school cancellation gets -RING! Right. Kids out at 9:30. How nice for them. I think this was the moment I decided work was not happening today.

8:45 – Text from Snarky Daughter. College class still on. What do I do? Response from me (apparently sent via email to her father): Come home.

9:29 – Panicked call from Snarky Daughter. Do I get on the bus? YES!!!

9:30 – Make Apple Cranberry Dessert.

9:32 – Call from Scout Son: School’s getting out early. Me: Get ON the bus. Really, children, my car is in the shop. Unless you plan on walking home, you better be on these buses.

10:00 – Start making Butternut Squash Soup. I told you, at the point kids were coming home early, I gave up on any real work getting done. The snow has now turned to sleet and I want the house to be warm and inviting when the kids come home. Yeah, I’m that mom.

10:30 – Scout Son gets home and goes up to bedroom to pack for going to Dad’s. It’s the coldest day of the year and he doesn’t want cocoa. Go figure.

11:00 – Requested text from Snarky Daughter saying she is one stop from her bus stop. Stop making soup so I again steal Sarcastic Roommate’s car so Snarky Daughter does not have to walk 1/3 of a mile in the sleet. Have I mentioned how friggin’ cold it is outside? I’m being a really good mom today. My characters are totally jealous.

11:15 – Back to making soup.

11:18 – Text from mechanic. Car is ready!!! Praise God. And there’s not enough ice on the roads to keep me from picking it up. Let’s be real. There could have been 8 inches of snow on the roads and I would have gotten to that car. Stop making soup. Again.

12:03 – Back with car. I am now really poor, but the damn thing works, which is good because I am now driving 2 hours for a job interview on Monday. Finish making soup. Ply kids and ex with soup, pot roast and dessert.

1:30 – Everybody leaves. Now it’s time to sit down and work. Except… Scout Son left his DS on the couch. Long story short, thanks to the ice, Friday became a Saturday. And today I work while I wait for the ice to melt today and refreeze tonight. But I have soup, and a Doberman curled up next to me, so it’s all good.


Everything’s Better with Real Whipped Cream

So, after 19 years in the South, I finally ate at Waffle House.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s Thanksgiving, aka National Mashed Potato Day, and I want to talk about Waffle House? Not really. It was more a confessional thing. Really good waffles though.

We just put the turkey in the oven. I’m excited and terrified because I feel like this year’s cooking isn’t doing what I wanted. Nothing like potentially poisoning your extended family with cheesecake.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sour Cream Bourbon topping from Gourmet. It’s an awesome cheesecake, and a great substitution if you’ve hit the point where making another pumpkin pie is going to get you institutionalized.

Normally the cream cheese works with me and everything turns out nicely, with a few small cracks on the top that are easily covered by the sour cream bourbon (or in this case Glenlivet) topping. Not so. Yesterday, I got the San Andreas Fault going through the cheesecake. Did I stop and think, hmmm, how can I fix this? Did I read the recipe as I was making the cheesecake?

No, not so much.

I just put the topping on the cheesecake and kept going. And here’s what it ended up looking like:

photo of pumpkin cheesecake
Luckily, a spoon smooths this topping and makes it look better than this.

Do not start with me. Had I thought about it, I would have put a flag over the fault line because clearly that spot will have more alcohol in it. But here’s the thing about cheesecake:

It’s really hard to tell when it’s done. It jiggles. And it’s cracked, and it’s just odd looking. And it has to sort of set up in the refrigerator after you bake it. So it doesn’t look right when it comes out of the oven. It’s a total crap shoot.

So crap shoot dessert, although the French Apple Pie — do  not start with me about the French on Thanksgiving; everything is better with streusel topping — looks fantastic.

French Apple pie photo
No promises about the turkey or the cheesecake, but we can all feed off the French Apple pie

But we got a surprise phone call and suddenly the turkey cook was tied up, and if you’ve cooked a turkey, you know it has to get in the oven on time if you want to eat before Saturday. So suddenly, I’m working on the turkey. Which was so not what I had planned. Sweet potato casserole, yes. Pie, yes. Main part of the meal that everyone looks at when I’m already nervous about the damned cheesecake? No.

So, a little nervous. And if this works, I will be telling everyone at dinner what I’m thankful for: not killing them with poultry and dairy products.

And pie with real whipped cream. Because everything’s better with whipped cream. As long as it’s homemade.


Stress Baking aka I Need to Move

So, I’m standing in the kitchen ready to kill one of my children because, you remember when I said, “Don’t eat these Kisses because I’m going to make Peanut Blossom cookies with then”? Yeah, clearly one of them didn’t remember that either because I notice I’m short on Kisses (in all ways possible), and while I totally agree that Hershey’s is screwing with me by making smaller packages, I don’t think it’s all on them, Scout Son.

Not that I’m naming names.

And usually this wouldn’t piss me off, I mean, I’m not a chocolate Nazi. We currently have, no lie, about 100 oz. of chocolate chips in the house, along with 3 pounds of chocolate to make truffles later this month. As long as I have 2 cups of chocolate chips to make cookies at any given moment, we’re good.

Stress baking, mom?

photo of Peanut Blossom Cookie
I suppose the good news is that I don’t want to eat them. Of course, that’s not good news for Sarcastic Roommate, who announced this morning that she was beginning a healthier living plan. Sorry.

Yes, Snarky Daughter. Go back to enjoying your weekend with your father and leave me alone.

In my kitchen. With my Kitchen Aid Professional. And a glass of wine.

You know that scene in Under the Tuscan Sun, where she ends up looking at the movers and saying, “So, um, two boxes,” and she pockets the blue vase? I think she got the better end of the deal, because I’m pretty sure this mixer is my blue vase, and hers was a lot lighter.

I didn’t get up planning on baking. I got up planning on painting my nails and chaining myself to a chair and finishing the story I’m working on because I’m on deadline. And then I was going to finish a cover design for someone and then I was going to rework my resume so I could discuss it with my step-mother and find a job.

But instead I opted to read for a few minutes hours. The problem here is Lani Diane Rich and The Fortune Quilt. I started it one night a few days ago. I thought I was picking up a light, humorous romance. But the Universe is not done sending me messages, because while there is a romance in this story, this is a story about a woman who is an emotional wreck, has been laid off and runs away from home to lick her wounds and start over.

Do you have any idea how badly I want to do that? I so seriously want to take my kids and go sleep on someone’s couch and just start over, I can’t begin to tell you. I keep trying to do what’s best for the kids and stay here, near my Ex, so he can see his kids, because that’s the responsible thing to do, and while I don’t want to be married to him, he’s a pretty nice guy and a good dad. And Snarky Daughter can finish high school where she’ll get two years of college credit free. But then Scout Son wants to apply there this year, so really, it’ll be four more years here, and I’m beginning to think paying for two years of college would be emotionally cheaper than what I’m going to pay for Four. More Years. Here.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that staying here is killing me. Unfortunately, here in Non-Fiction Land, I have about $20 in savings, and after I pay the bills, about that much in my checking, and unless my lottery numbers were good on Tuesday (and I think I’d have heard something on the news by now if there’d been a big winner), that’s not enough to start over with.

So I’m pretty much stuck right now, trying to figure out how to get unstuck, and wishing like crazy I had an artsy, Bilby, Arizona to run away to, where I could work in an art supply store while I found myself for a couple of months and then got the job of my dreams, the guy of my dreams, and the quirky cottage of my dreams.

With a kitchen big enough to hold my Kitchen Aid, and some shelves for my books. And no guilt for dislocating my kids because for once, just once, I could put my needs before everyone else’s. And everything would work out fine.

In the meantime, I’m moving on to Ginger Snaps.



The Perfect Pie… and How it Died

“Mom, I had an epiphany in health class, and you were right.”

“Duh. About what?”

“It turns out, I can’t eat store-bought cookies and stuff. I need to learn how to bake.”

Trumpets blare in the background, heralding my success.

“Told you so.”

You see, that’s how this blog started. I wanted to bake cookies with Snarky Daughter, but she wouldn’t help. Then, two hours later, with the scent of cookies wafting upstairs, down comes She Who Can’t Be Bothered, to eat the fruits of my labor. I don’t think so.

“You didn’t want to bake them, you don’t get to eat them. And by the way, it’s time you and your brother learn how to cook. I’m not sending you out into the world without skills, so you’re going to cook once a week. And then you’re going to blog about it.”

Or not. But they have been cooking semi-regularly. Scout Son became my baker; Snarky Daughter my chef.

So I was thrilled when I learned I was right and she was going to have to learn to bake. In our house, I may not know what’s for dinner, but I can bake a cake/cookies on any day.

Vegetables? Meh. Chocolate chips and butter? Always in the house. The chips are ideally purchased in five-pound bags. Isn’t it that way in your house?

Continuing on in the You Were Right Conversation:

Photo of French Apple Pie
Before the accident. We were too broken up to take an “after” photo.

“What do you want to make?”

“Um, cookies?”

“Really? We’ve been talking a lot about pie lately.”

“Pie would be good. But isn’t pie hard?”

“Not if you understand the chemistry going on. Besides, if you can make pie, you can make anything.”

Nothing like trial by fire.

A few days later, armed with butter, brown sugar, spices and pounds of apples, I explain the secret to pie crust. Time. And freezing a lot of the ingredients to stop the formation of gluten.

Four hours later, Snarky Daughter pulled the Perfect French Apple Pie out of the oven. Can I just tell you how awesome this pie was? No, there aren’t words. But it was better than some dates I’ve had.

It was phenomenal. Right up to the moment I went to put it in the refrigerator and watched, horrified, as it slid off the cookie sheet and crashed to the floor. The ceramic pie pan shattered.

Yes, I did look at a four-inch piece of flaky, joyous crust and wonder if it was bad form to pick it up and eat it off the floor. I also wondered if we could pick through the ceramic splinters liberally scattered throughout the filling.

It took about twenty minutes of cleaning up to realize I wasn’t so upset about the loss of pie, as it was the loss of this pie. The first pie. The perfect pie. I literally stood there calculating how long it would take me to make another pie (duh, four hours). And what I could put it in since, you know, my pie pan was toast. And finally realized I was upset because it was Snarky Daughter’s First Pie that I killed.

I made another pie in an emergency pie pan two days later. It wasn’t the same. And now I’m on a search for another ceramic deep dish pie pan. Because practice makes perfect.


In Which I Share the Family Eggog Recipe

So, last week I was mourning not getting the job I was perfect for. Perfect. Except they decided they wanted someone with hacking skills. For a writing position. Yes, I try really hard not to whine about the search for a day job, and all the people who do not think I’m perfect (really?), but this one hit hard.

I’ve been looking for a new day job for Seven. Months. Almost eight.

OK, anyway. I was waiting to hear about the job I didn’t get because everyone needs a hacker for an online writing position (no kidding, they said “what we really need is a hacker” and I burst out laughing because even if they did need someone with those skills, which they don’t, that person isn’t interested in a day job because, duh, he’s out hacking something) and I decided to deal with the last two boxes of my mom’s stuff.

photo of woods
About 1.3 seconds after I took this shot from my living room/office the leaves finished turning and are now falling at an alarming rate in the yard. Just something to do now that I’ve gone through the last two boxes of mom’s stuff.

I’ve been moving these two boxes around in my house for four years. God forbid I dive in and deal with it. But at the end of last week I was a little insane and looked at the boxes one night and thought, nope, those Have. To. Go.

I’d been avoiding them because I knew what was in them. You see, we had no fewer than 203 copies of some relative’s application to the DAR. Now, normal people would be able to throw out 202 copies, but some of those copies were thicker than others, so dealing with this mess of paper meant going one page at a time through everything making sure I have everything I need when I apply for the DAR. Or something.

Anyway, tons of family history sitting there, with some odd stuff mixed in. There was a statement from one of mom’s retirement funds, and being four years since I’d managed the estate HAHAHAHAHA! I had to call the company and make sure I still had to keep looking for work. The secretary actually remembered mom and I found myself offering condolences for her loss.

But, mixed in all that stuff, was the family Eggnog recipe. I’ve never had it, but reading it just cracked me up. I always wondered why nobody got salmonella poisoning from all the raw eggs, but then I read how much alcohol was in it, and I’m no longer surprised.

So, here you go, an early gift for your holiday enjoyment!

Eggnog In Quantity (yes, it really says that!)

photo of handwritten eggnog recipe
I blame the condition of the recipe card on the 4-6 cups of alcohol the recipe calls for.

1. Beat till light: 12 egg yolks
2. Beat in gradually 1 pound powdered sugar
3. Add very slowly, beating constantly: 2 cups booze of choice (I use brandy and rum)
4. Let mixture stand covered for 1 hour to dispel “eggy” taste.
5. Add, beating constantly:

2-4 cups more booze

2 quarts heavy whipping cream

6. Refrigerate, covered, 3 hours.
7. Beat till stiff, but not dry: 8-12 egg whites
8. Fold into other ingredients and serve via punch bowl.


How can you not enjoy a pound of powdered sugar, half a cow’s worth of cream, 24 eggs and, you know, 6 cups of alcohol? A lot of my holiday memories were explained when I read this recipe.

Which I may need to whip up if I don’t find work soon because I am really tired of spending all my free time looking for work, when I could be writing romance novels. Which I am off to do. As soon as I apply for yet another day job.


Kids in the Kitchen: Gazpacho

Yeah, I know. You wanted Underwear Rant #2. I figure I could do a week-long series on women’s underwear, which is scary. But for the weeks that I was down to one functional hand, the kids did a lot of cooking, and they deserve their time in the sun, er kitchen.

A few weeks ago we were going to try living wheat-free (don’t ask, there’s a blog coming that’s devoted to it). So while Snarky Daughter was getting her hair cut, I was putting together a shopping list of all sorts of healthy stuff. Woo-hoo! But it was about 1000 degrees outside and who really wants to cook in that? And then I remembered…a really awesome Californian restaurant from the 70s. You walked in and you had to stop and let your eyes adjust because it was so dark. Dark wood paneling, dark green booths, dark everything. Salesguys went there to close semiconductor chip deals and my mom would meet with big name editors there after work for a drink. People went there at lunch for a drink. I miss the 70s.

Anyway, when the Bay Area hit 105, the Velvet Turtle was the place to go because it was dark and cold. And they had the best gazpacho. They served it in individual servings in glass bowls packed in crushed ice. You could almost see ice crystals on the top of the soup.

Sitting in the hair salon, that’s what I remembered. Heaven on ice.

And it’s healthy, and it doesn’t have wheat, making it a better choice than a maple frosted doughnut or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. And did I mention how awesome ice cold soup would be when it’s 1000 degrees outside and the relative humidity is about 120%?

Snarky Daughter cooks Velvet Turtle Gazpacho
Snarky Daughter “cooking”

Also, you make it in a blender!

Here’s a link to the recipe, which some saint at the LA Times got the Velvet Turtle to give up back in 1981.

Read through it and there’s only one real problem: 1 tsp. seasoning blend. Undaunted, and refusing to believe that might be the key to the soup, we pressed on, assuming that 1 tsp of cumin (thereabouts) and some oregano were what they meant.

As usual, Snarky Daughter was only mildly excited about making dinner, but I was looking totally pitiful with my new, can’t move my thumb or wrist at all brace, so what was she really going to say? Well, she’s mine, so she could have said a lot, but what actually came out of her mouth was, “Uh, sure. I make it in the blender?”

So, this is totally a dump and blend thing. Soup in 20 minutes because you’re obliterating everything in the blender so it’s not like you have to carefully chop the veggies. Then we put it in the freezer for another 20 so it would be ice cold. And we served it with a couple of tortilla chips (corn-based, so I choose to believe they lack wheat), and presto! Summer Dinner!

Both kids and Snarky Roommate liked it. And I went back in time. I wonder what my dad drank when he ate this at the Turtle…