Isn’t that a great title for a book? I took a flyer on the purchase, glancing through the imagery and immediately liking whimsical pictures. Well, that and the sub-title “and other stores you’re sure to like, because they’re all about monsters and some of them are also about food.” What foodie can’t appreciate that?
Now readers of this blog know I never write reviews of other books but this defies my logic. Why bother, think I? So many already exist that my humble opinion isn’t going to sway a person’s purchasing choices. Furthermore, aside from the errant reporter who recently provided me his own book after an interview was over, I’m not solicited for a review or opinion. Frankenstien Makes a Sandwich is so good, I’m taking the time to tell all my readers– buy it. Buy it now. It’s awesomely funny.
Age group begone. This isn’t just for my six year old. As I’m reading about my 41 yr old husband is piping up in the background “what’s that?” and “that’s crazy!” he continues, before busting up. Some stories mirror a contemporary story mixed with a rhyme, like Phantom of the Opera. Another makes fun of Dracula’s son that has a lame tooth. One of my favorites is “an open letter from Wolfman’s best friend,” about the saga of wolfman’s roommate who is sick and tired of cleaning up after him
“Please just konw, and I’ll happily open the door.
And if I’m not home please don’t howl anymore.
‘Cause each time you do it, the neighbors complain.
And since we’re complaining, perhaps you’d explain
how you manage to leave
SO MUCH hair in the tub.
I constantly clean it. I scour, I scrub,
and I think I should mention it’s REALLY a pain.
Today I removed a big clog from the drain,
and I tell you, this hair-clog was of SUCH A SIZE,
it could go to a CAT SHOW
AND TAKE HOME FIRST PRIZE.
So…anyway, that’s all I wanted to write.
Please take out the garbage. It’s your turn tonight.
Another favorite is Godzilla Pooped on My Honda, The Phantom of the Opera Can’t Get “It’s a Small World” out of his Head and The Middlewich With-Watchers Club. In between each of the poems are the most amazing drawings of fun types of witches like the Frazzled Warthog and the Speckled Crone or the Long Beaked Harpy.
Every now and then, I come across a book that is so fun, so well written and engaging, I get depressed. “I wish I’d written that,” I say, a whistful sigh that instills in me an overpowering desire to get back to writing something a bit more meaningful. This is one of those books. Adam Rex, you are my idol.
|A real Boehms Frualine–
I actually no her! She works there!
To satisfy the unwashed masses who have afeared for my safety, I’m here. In spirit that is. My physical body is beaten down, an inch smaller from this new naturopathic program that eliminates sugar from the ol’ diet. Sadly, this includes Boehms chocolates. It’s been 8 days and 2 hours that I’ve been away from it. But like a dog to its vomit, an hour doesn’t go by where the craving doesn’t rear it’s ugly head. I’m sure meth would have been cheaper, but I’d have teeth loss, Starbuck’s more expensive; I’d have my teeth, but they’d be black. (I know, I have a fixation with teeth). (FYI-Boehm’s has great father’s day selection. I got my dad the toffee and an assortment of milk chocolate…and FYII…on Saturdays, all the young girls actually wear the traditional Swiss outfits. Apparently, Julius, the founder, was quite a ladies man with an eye towards….busty, young woman. Don’t hold that against him though. Apparently he was a great skiier, and that has to count for something).
In other news, I’m ready to throw my husband out for invading my space. Ok, not out as in, out-out. But out of my little hobbit hole I call my writing space. He’s announced he’s taking July off to focus on “my business,” which, loosely translated, means the business of Sarah Gerdes writing. What business, you ask yourself? 3 national orgs have come on board to have in-store events in July, though I can’t announce the names. The studio is going to give away 3 walk-on roles to people who register by downloading Chambers. Great idea. $2.99 gets you a shot at hanging with Angie and Brad. It’s surreal actually. One day, I’m typing away in anonymity, the next, I’m on the phone with a division vp who runs entertainment and merchandising for a national chain, then I’m talking with the producer, who will be signing autographs.
“What about security? do you have a hander to move people through? how many seconds for each autograph? where will the stand be?..”) All good questions, for which I have no answers. Yet. Will I know it soon? “You betcha” (my one and only channeling of Palin).
This week has been full of the minuteau of things like trying to track down a videographer, a photographer, extras, what to put on the registration cards…blah blah. If you have a vision that “authors” arrive at an event, sit down and look glamorous, perish the thought. Reality is perhaps a bit less exciting (I’ve heard that truly famous authors ride around in limos until the last minute, whisk in, smile and leave), but as my Dad says “I don’t want to hear it!! Don’t diminish my vision of you!” Yeah, whatever. This is bloody hard work, that’s all I’ve got to say.
On the bright side, I’ve never been so motivated to get rid of the stuff and puff that lines my muffin top and jawline, leading us full circle back to the no sugar thing. It’s actually working, by the way. Good thing. I need the energy!
These last two weeks, I refrained from calling until the bitter end. Sometimes, impressions start out quietly, then get louder, progressing to the point where I think I’m starting to lose my mind. It’s reminiscent of not being about to get Born this Way out of my head actually; a rhythmic beat that won’t begone. Eventually, my will gives out. I emailed her three days ago, then called several times. A day later she responded, told me that her sister (also named Sarah) had unexpectedly died 10 days prior. She’d gone to the funeral, assisted with Sarah’s 6 children and husband, and provided much needed assistance. The day I contacted her, she had returned from the trip. She invited me to come to her house and I jumped on it, having never been. She said she’d “appreciate the distraction,” and though I had no idea what to do for a person who’d lost her sister and best friend, I went. No food. No flowers. Just me and my young daughter.
As an aside, everything in that home was tall and big (including her ceilings, high enough to accommodate her 6’6″ husband, 6’8″ fifteen year old son, 6’2″ 14 year old daughter, and so on). I felt my body grow taller and slimmer being in the environs. In any case, the woman kept me talking, non-stop, for over an hour. It was slightly odd, being turned away from directing the conversation to her. She successfully thwarted every attempt I made to ask about her in any way. Finally, after I’d been going on with diarrhea of the mouth, I put an end to it. This took the conversation in a surprising turn.
“Normally I wouldn’t do this,” she began, “but I want to hear about other people, other things, anything but myself.” She went on to ask me if I’d ever lost anyone close to me. No, not really, I’d replied. “I’ve been doing everything wrong!” she said emphatically. “All wrong–I’ve left everyone alone, thinking they needed ‘family time’ she continued, “when in fact, that’s the last thing they want–or I wanted. Cards, flowers, phone calls, from people I don’t even know made me feel so good. But most of all, I want company.” She proceeded to explain a person suffering from a loss doesn’t want more alone time–“I’m already alone in my heart, I want company.”
Ever the cataloger of all things helpful, we talked about advice for the support group. It came down to a few tidbits she’s learned:
1. don’t be shy about calling, writing or just dropping by. A person in grief won’t ask for help, and won’t want to bug anyone else. Don’t call and ask if a casserole is needed. Just bring it by. If no one answers, leave it on the doorstep with or without a note.
2. cards and notes and calls are all welcome. doesn’t matter if the person who passed was a distant acquaintance or friend of friend. The memory and thought counts and helps the grieving process.
3. next to food, babysitting is the most helpful service to provide. Picking kids up from school, helping out the spouse of the person with the loss is appreciated (taking the kids home from church so the husband can attend to his duties).
4. coming over, and like I learned, being comfortable with talking at length about fun things. “Don’t forget the fun things!” she said. This was particularly hard for me. It was a big week, what with the ebook and movie stuff being announced and launched. Yet time and again, it was what she kept coming back to (her husband even got in the game, asking questions to assist in the novel he’s writing). a person dealing with hardcore issues wants to hear about fun, exciting events, not more depressing stories.
5. don’t worry about empathizing and crying. Enough tears have been shed. It’s okay to be happy. The funeral for my friend’s sister Sarah was a joyous occasion, as much as it could be. A celebration of life rather than mourning over the death.
The entire conversation was extremely helpful to me, and though I won’t look forward to death, I’ll definitely keep this etiquette in mind when it comes my way.
|spooky halloween cakepops|
Never heard of them before? You aren’t alone. I too, was Moses, wandering in the dessert desert, wondering how my life could get richer when lo, an angel appeared to me in the form of a Christmas present from my Las Vegas-based cousin who realized I was without the mother-of-all sugar formations.
This is what you need:
- The book:The Bible of Cake Pop books. Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks and Recips for morethan 40 irresistible mini treats.
- Box of your favorite pre-mixed cake mix
- 9×13 cake pan
- mixing bowl
- 16 oz ready made frosting (this is America, home of the packaged and parceled after all. all my wonderful, incredibly civilized European readers will gag, but you have to understand this isn’t just food. It’s an experience).
When you are ready to decorate, pull out and get creative. We used 6 different kinds of decorative gel (found in most supermarkets) and lots of easter egg type glitter.
A month or so ago, I gave this a whirl with my five year old, attempting to make Easter Pops. They turned out like mutant pops, so sugary my face puckered and even Porsche spit them out. No matter. The girls loved the decoration part and proudly displayed their egg pops.
The final product. A bit scary for Easter, but gets the point across.
The entire production was less than 20 dollars, and provided hours of fun. the book has amazing ideas for all holidays….do what my cousin did and get someone the entire set of items (from cake mix to sticks). It makes for an inventive gift as well.
|The batter-mix until it barely sticks together|
Cook time: 9 min
3 full tsp of powdered sugar
3/4 cup flour
(walnuts if desired)
- Add the powdered sugar.
- Bake for 9 min or until the cakes are bouncy on the top
- Remove and allow to cool
- Roll again in powdered sugar
|Form small balls (ab nickle size around
for kids. Larger for adults)
|Bake, then sprinkle w/powdered
sugar (can roll in sugar instead)
|The finished product, 18 min later!|
Another note on dryness: this recipe is interesting, in that the ‘best’ tea cakes, according to the mother-of-all-cooks, (mom), are flaky to the point of nearly falling apart. I’m not a fan of the falling-apart anything. It’s messy. I’m sure she meant crumbling in the mouth. Regardless, play around with the measurements to fit your liking. These are by far, the easiest, tasiest morsels you’ll make.
Several nights ago, we both had a nervana experience that brought us one step closer to near red-meatless diet: vegie meatballs. Sounds lame, and that’s what I thought when I bought a pack at Costco. Lured in as I was by the “organic and natural” packaging, and oxymoron for most items sold at the big box chain, I figured the five bucks was going to save a cow, reduce Rog’s cholesteral and help me lose weight in one.
Tired of my day old lasagna (my favorite actually), Rog tore in to the package, cleaned up one plate without offering me so much as a bite, and proceeding on his second. I think he had about 20 of the poppers. Shocked, I stole on, ignoring his screech of dismay. In two chomps it was gone and I knew we had a winner. No sauce, only salt and pepper. We then went on to dissect the ingredients–all commonly found vegies.
The next step was seeing if I could replicate the experienced. Five bucks is cheap for 30, but I thought I’d be able to improve on the health factor a tad. The on line recipes were/are awful, in my opinion, since they all want some type of grain. The only one I went for was brown rice, though this gave the balls an odd aftertaste. I don’t like oats in anything other than my cereal or chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, so that was out. I settled on old fashioned bread crumbs. The rest of my experiment included celery, carrots, potatoes (a wonderful, though starchy addition), onions–always sauteed in butter, though purists can go for oil), and then whatever else I wanted to throw in (a bit of colored peppers gave it a zing, not unlike my crab cakes).
I went French on this recipe, going by feel and texture than a singular recipe. When it came time to roll it all together, I added in an egg balanced this with the bread crumbs. (always do these last two at the end). You know what? The recipe was near identical to crab cakes, save for the spices and oils I put in both. The wettish mixture is dry and formable (my donkingism for the day), awaiting my glad-handing shake of the salt and pepper bottle, some Hungarian Paprika, oregano, thyme and a few other mish mash items that sound good at the time (e.g. celery salt).
Raw, the mixture was good (yes, I always taste it raw. I’m not a nut about the whole avoiding-raw-egg thing). Sauteed the balls in a pan covered with a thin layer of oil. The next time I make these, I’ll add some pics or something. Verdict? Rog ate more of my homemade than he did of the store bought. AND, without the butter (and depending on the crumbs, if vegan) the entire dish can be vegan as well. (My mom is going to vomit now), but I’m quite proud of myself.
Here is the recipe, as best I can remember.
Prep time: 15
Start to finish: @45
Makes: @30 veggie balls
1/4 butter (salted)
3/4-1 cup bread crumbs
cheese (if desired)
1/2 of a red, yellow and/or orange bell pepper (you can sub w/green if you prefer)
3 celery stalks
1-2 potatos (cooked, w/or without skin, depending on preference)
choice of herbs, such as oregano, thyme, celery salt, hungarian paprika
- Boil the potato.
- Sautee the onion in the butter, adding the carrots and half way.
- Remove and drain the potato, chop fine, or mash and add to the onion mixture (add more butter or oil if necessary).
- Blend with salt and pepper, hungarian paprika and other dried herbs. Mix well (the aroma is divine)
- Finely chop the peppers. (If you want a bit of zing, throw in a jalepeno, Rog loved this variation)
- Remove the onion mixture, and add the peppers. Conduct a taste test for blandness, a common issue with vegie balls. if you want more zing, douse it with some cayenne pepper and/or tobasco. I use both and they are awesome (you can get vegetarian-friendly equivalent for hot sauce, though Rog, the purist he, refuses to use them).
- Add the egg, mix well, then add the bread crumbs bit by bit. Test the consistency for molding, and add the other egg, and or more bread crumbs as necessary.
- Heat the oil on the stove over medium heat, or if you have an old-school pan set at 300 degrees. (I have this huge, Italian metal frying pan with a temperature gauge that is perfect for all things meatball).
- It takes about a minute to cook on each side, and I’ll use tongs and/or forks to turn and cook. Another cooking technique is to use a cast iron bacon press and make the balls more like pancakes. It makes for a more even cooking job, and great for adding a topping but not technically, ‘balls.’
I’ve tried a whole lotta sauces, from aeoli to dipping sauces ideal for vegies, and then some savory, though meat-verboten ones–like spicy teriyaki. Not bad. I’ve not settled on one perfect one, although I did whip up a cream cheese, roasted red pepper thing that some guests loved. That is probably my favorite thus far…
I used (these are rough measurements, as I’m becoming more French by the day-as in-winging it)…
- 1 8 oz package of full-fat (eg original)
- Red pepper, in the oven–convection or broil for a few minutes, until soft and quasi brown/black. remove and let cool.
- Put both in the blender (Cuisinart) and pulse a few times until just blended.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and wala!
PS–this sauce is meant to be a little bland–to cut the spiciness of the vegie balls.
Just don’t ever do this,” he said, filing his nails with his bottom teeth. I greatly admired my father’s soft, round edges, the kind a professional manicurist would envy. Unfortunately, his Superman fingernail genetics skipped right over me, for I have thin nails, normal to ugly shaped, and not at all feminine looking. He did manage to pass me his thick, cow-milking fingers, nice and wide for gripping those ‘teeeets’ as my family says, and palms the size of a bear claw. Ever shake my hand and you’ll recognize the grip of death followed by a quick retraction before you can actually verify I’m a man and not Pat in disguise.
All manliness aside, I strive for long, lovely, hard nails, and realized magazines make millions of dollars accepting ads for all types of nail hardeners (this is what I think about when I’m stressed). Don’t go there. Instead, go out and buy yourself a small round of Heathly Hoof nail hardener. I was turned on this by my very first college roommate, oh-so-long ago. She hailed from Colorado, had horses, and said it was the oldest trick in the book. “Women have been using this stuff for decades!” she said. What? you say, in disbelief? It’s true, the same way it’s true that male hockey players wear women’s nylons (preferably in the natural tan color) because it reduces the hair getting caught in all that stinky gear. “The Trainer’s Choice,” is the tagline for Healthy Hoof, and so it should be. In a matter of days, my nails were noticably harder. A few weeks out, the nails were long and strong. No breaking, chipping or flaking.
Usage tip–take a bit of the cream and rub it at the base of the cuticles, then around the top of the nail. Do this a few times on each finger-one hand then the other. A couple times a day for faster results, but once a day will do the trick just fine. Soon you won’t need anything else on your nails–except a color now and then to mix it up. However, it doesn’t work on nailpolish–so that will have to come off when you apply the cream. Now all I have to do is figure out how Dad keeps his hair so nice looking.
A heart palpitating, nausea-inducing moment is realizing you are supposed to bring an appetizer to a party 20 minutes before you have to leave. This happened to me over the weekend, but my inner-self was ready. On a whim, I’d purchased pre-made, organic, marinated mozzarella. I happened to have mini tomoatoes in the fridge. I stared. I wondered. Then I made a dish in 5 minutes– and it was vegetarian to boot. FYI, I have vegetarian friends, some of whom don’t know that ALL Horizon products are certified vegetarian– I’ll skip over the details of what constitutes vegetarian cheeses, but the above link gives a great description. (It’s all about the ‘rennet.’)
These apps were te first to be cleaned up at the party..I’m expecting it was because they appealed to the masses, were flavorful and naturally healthy.
|Tomato and Mozarella bites|
|Cut the cheese balls and tomatos in half|
|Drizzle oil in the platter and add herbs|
From the start of Monday, the week has been frought with bad news. All sorts. Job loss. Friends losing homes. A divorce. It’s not a surprise to hear the words of despair, the temporary absence of optimism, of hope that the situation will improve.
Hope is an emotional lifeline. When I told Rog I intended to write about it, he says “No, what right do you have to pontificate to others?” It was then I reminded him it was I who’d experienced divorce, single parenting, bankruptcy, foreclosure, the freezing of my assets and an expanding arse to boot. “Who better to write on hope that me?” He krinkled his face when I recalled it was my hope we’d have children someday…a glimmer of light on the horizon that kept me going seven years after he said NO! “Ok,” he mumbled as he walked in to the office. “Write it. Just don’t be sappy.”
I make no such promise.
Hope is found when a stranger smiles at you on the walk home.
Hope is given to a foster child turns 18, and a business owner takes a chance and gives a job.
Hope is what remains inside a woman, long after her man has walked out the door.
Hope is rewarded when a new man appears, one far better and more deserving then the one who left.
Hope is felt when a mother tells her daughter her son will one day return.
Hope is rewarded when the daughter broke it off, right before saying “I do.”
Hope is rewarded when the son goes to college on his own accord.
Hope is a person wronged will forgive, and a friendship will be regained.
Hope is the crowd will cheer, not boo.
Hope is going on again the next night, no matter what happened the evening before.
Hope is the light in a newborns eye.
Hope is the enemy of despair.
Hope sees me through the tears and heartaches.
Hope is within, ever present.
Hope is life.