For a stint in my teens, I baby sat three young boys with my sister. My sister had far more experience than I when it came to babysitting. The boys were all under the age of 8 and recently got a puppy. One weekend, my sister wasn’t able to watch the boys so the parents opted to give me a shot at solo duty. The boys were very well behaved…when my sister and I were there. But when it was just me the dynamic changed. The numbers were against me. Mutiny was inevitable. In addition to the puppy, the boys added a hamster to their burgeoning petting zoo.
Wrangling three young boys isn’t easy, especially when fights erupt over allegations of cheating at Super Smash Brothers. One of the boys “hit” the other. Tears began to form. Whether or not they were mine or the boys you’ll never know.
I managed to keep them entertained and out of the ER for the evening. When it was bed time, the two older boys put on their pajamas without incident, but the little guy proved to be more of a challenge. His jammies were of the Superman variety and included a cape. Beyond my pajama envy, there was a problem. He didn’t want to brush his teeth. Rather than be the cool babysitter who didn’t care whether or not he brushed, I feared my future as a babysitter rode on his dental hygiene. His parents would ask him during breakfast if he brushed his teeth and if he answered negatively, my future at getting tenure as a babysitter was gone like Superman out of a phone booth. Continue reading In Praise of Lester Holt
The calendar says it’s fall, which makes my stomach prep for hibernation food. Chicken Pot Pie is a comfort staple that has several variation possibilities. A few ideas: broccoli and cheese, mushrooms, swap turkey for chicken. It’s also a dish that was available in the microwave variety. Bachelor Basics ideas usually come from the frozen food aisle of the grocery. Here’s my Chicken Pot Pie recipe. It’ll take more than 10 minutes until you hear the ding for supper time, but it’s worth the time investment. Plus, it’s a great dish to cook for friends (or a date).
Continue reading Shortcuts to Homemade Pot Pie – Recipe
Fun Fact: I can guzzle a lightly chilled bottle of apple juice in one sitting.
Despite my love for apple juice, I never explored the world of ciders. It wasn’t until dating Leann that I started sipping the alcohol version of apple juice. With my limited exposure to the boozy fruit juice, I didn’t know about distinctions between styles of distillation or variations in the amount of sugar.
Leann and I escaped to Michigan for a quick trip before I started my new job. The area surrounding Holland, Michigan, offers the perfect amount of activities for a weekend. After a few Google searches for “Things to do in Holland” we compiled our own list. I’ll post our guide as soon as I can decide which pictures to share.
High on our list was visiting Virtue Cider in Fennville. They have a treasure trove of info on their site showing how cider is made. But I’ve never been one for reading. I’m more of a visual and experiential learner. Plus, it’s a real farm with pigs! So, Leann and I reached out to setup a tour (I highly suggest you do the same). It was a roaster of a day when we visited the farm. Thankfully, Virtue had plenty of beverages to curb the heat.
I’ll write more about the tour experience later, but while there, we chatted with the staff to learn about different ways to cook with cider. Did I mention they have pigs? And apples. Nearly a month later, Leann and I opened the mini growler of Percheron cider to braise pork loin. Continue reading Braised Pork with Cider and Tomatillos – Recipe
I am not sure if I’d watch a film by that name if it appeared on Netflix, but I would linger. This week’s video highlights how the zucchini and tomatillo plants have commandeered the garden box. Rather than stay in their respective squares, they have launched a sprawl campaign against all the other squares. If this were a game of Risk, they’d have all the map under their control.
What do you do when your plants are growing too well? The lesson for this first-time backyard gardener is to prune and isolate sprawling plants. Zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes and tomatillos take up a ton of space. There is no way to corral them and pruning requires more expertise. Next year I plan on removing these plants from the box and planting in their own box or with plenty of space to roam.
In Barcelona, they eat dinner late. That’s what all the guide books advised. Fearing that we wouldn’t be able to eat when our stomachs expected food, we shifted our lunch to later in the day during our exploration of Barcelona-by-foot last December.
One of my supreme joys when traveling is experiencing new food and flavors, the museums and cultural attractions are an added bonus. That joy is a stark contrast to my frugality and indecisiveness. Unlike some travelers, I don’t travel for the food, willing to spend whatever it costs to have the finest meal in each city. Instead, I wander the streets looking for restaurants that have the perfect balance of star ratings and dollar signs.
The Barcelona nightlife in December may not have been the zenith of the summer club scene, but the streets were still full of people enjoying food, drink and temperate weather. We stuck out as tourists largely for our sporting short sleeve shirts while locals donned winter coats and scarves to brave the frigid evening winter temps in the low 60s.
Early this summer I received a bottle of Beronia wine from the Rioja region. The Rioja region is a major wine producing region in Spain and worth exploring. The bottle sat on my shelf as I debated what to pair it with. After a few weekends of uninspired dinner creations, it was time to revisit the tastes of Barcelona and uncork the Crianza. That varietal was not one I knew. Continue reading Tastes of Barcelona at Home