Dinner

Summer is brutal where I live. I’m not simply talking about the heat, but more the workload. I work in the service industry in a resort town. While the season begins sometime in May it literally builds and builds in intensity until the explosion of Labor Day weekend. So here in the third week of August I’m trying the keep the supplies stocked at the business all while getting back-to-school ready for my kids. The shopping and the haircuts and the meetings at school and the doctor appointments and…oh my gosh I forgot to eat. That’s usually how each meal begins these days. I have a stash of nasty tasting but protein and calorie filled bars in my car along with veggie juices and carrots.

Late this afternoon I had an I need to eat moment. It was a million degrees out and my protein bars were in a melty state. I happened to be in a strip mall parking lot with my nemesis of fast food places, Burger King. But I was so hungry I decided my ban of this establishment ended today. Mostly because the drive through was empty and that meant I could get food faster.

In 2005, that’s right fourteen years ago, I got food poisoning from Burger King. It was a brutal bout of vomiting that led me to the conclusion that I would never again eat at the king of burgers. That flame broiled scent they emit from the building haunted me for years. It’s not that I am holier-than-thou and never eat fast food. I try not to, and it’s relatively easy as I live forty-five minutes from the nearest fast food joint. But occasionally I need food in a rush and I’ll chomp down a quarter pounder.

Back to today. I studied the menu for a moment before telling the lady I’d like a whopper junior with cheese meal. I paid for my order and secured my dinner. I then parked in the lot of Burger King to eat. I used to look sideways at the folks who were eating in their cars in parking lots, but now I am one of them. I get it.

So I unwrap the burger and the flame broiled smell doesn’t bother me. Good. Progress. I decide to remove the bottom half of the bun to sniff the burger patty to see if it has a foul smell. No, we seem to be ready for consumption. But then I look at the patty. Oh Em Gee. Don’t ever look at a fast food burger patty. Ever. This is what I saw.

 

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So that’s not exactly what I saw, but it’s all I could see. This is a close up of a whopper junior burger patty. I ate this. Now I don’t want to receive hate mail from Burger King defenders. I have nothing to compare this to. Wendy’s burger patties could be more disgusting in appearance by a mile. I just don’t know.

Here is a not close up picture of my meal.

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Not as offensive. Here you can see the red of the tomato and the green of the lettuce and it looks like food.

I asked my kids what they though the first photo might be. Lucy Girl said a cookie. Hank the Tank said a pizza covered in cat vomit. Then they asked me what it really was and I told them they’d have to read my blog.

Five hours have passed since I ate this. So far so good. Although food poisoning does take many hours to surface. Perhaps I can allow Burger King to re-enter my list of acceptable places to eat on the run.

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Halloween Pasta

pumpkin pasta

Look what I found!  The scariest noodles I have ever witnessed.  I am already jazzed up about fall so when I saw these there was no ifs ands or buts.  These were going into my cart.  Tri-colored pasta in the shapes of bats and pumpkins were the meal I never knew I always wanted.

ingredients

Out of curiosity I checked to see what they used to dye the black pasta.  Cuttlefish ink:

cuttlefish

Yummy.

cooked pasta

Let’s analyze the pasta after it’s been cooked.  Kraft has created so many cartoon character versions of Mac and Cheese, therefore I have vast experience preparing pasta in shapes.  I usually disapprove of the artistic quality of shape pasta, but this is definitely above average.  The pumpkins are a bit busy in their design, but the bats are spot on.

meal

I knew I was going to have to use Alfredo with this meal, the white sauce allowed us all to still see the bats and pumpkins.  Then before I remembered to take a picture I threw some spinach and basil and tomatoes in the mix.  There is nothing beautiful about the finished product, but it was mighty tasty!

Halloween Pasta is a definite winner.  I think it was 2.99.  When was the last time you had this much fun for less than three bucks?

Side note, thanks to everyone who has been clicking and reading this week.  I used to be such a regular at this game and the fact that some of you still indulge me means a lot.  

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First Halloween Purchase of the Season!

I’m just a basic boring lady who loves to love fall.  Sweaters and pumpkin spice and leaves changing color all energize me.  September 1st is my favorite day of the year as it is the date that I finally allow myself to break out the scented candles and fall decor.  But if I am being completely honest, I don’t obsess over Halloween.  I like Halloween, quite a bit.  But it is merely the first stop in the trilogy of significant holidays that in my opinion get better and better.

September means fall, and days getting colder.  I like cold.  I’m very Scandinavian and really don’t sweat much.  I know you came here to hear about my perspiration patterns  so I’ll continue.  If you do not sweat the heat of the sun simply enters your body and does not leave.  So while some are glistening in the sunshine I am becoming a literal oven getting warmer and warmer with each passing minute.  I am uncomfortable outside if it is over eighty degrees.  During hot spells where I live, and it can get dang hot, the only relief I really have in the summer is entering a deep freezer.  Luckily I manage a business that requires I shop for supplies at a store that has a walk in freezer.  Twice a week I go get the orders and I stand inside those freezers until my core is cold.  Sometimes I don’t even need to purchase a frozen item, so I’m just standing there like a kid loitering at the 7-11 with a dumb look on my face while others are stocking up on ice cream and frozen chicken patties.

So I’m on a tangent.  Basically I love fall, hate heat, and don’t obsess over Halloween.  However today I had a few minutes to kill after standing in the deep freezer and popped into Marshall’s to grab a cheap t-shirt since I spilled soda on mine and didn’t want to continue my errands with a stained shirt.  Of course they had a display of autumn goodies and I checked them out.

halloween decor

I came away with a few winners, today I show you this glorious item.  It’s about a foot tall and wide.  This pumpkin haunted house lights up in the windows which looks really awesome in the dark but takes a terrible picture so you will just have to imagine it.  I do not have a large Halloween decoration collection but this is making me want to acquire one.  I also want an upright piano as I believe that would be the best place to display this treasure.  Hopefully my writing streak continues and I can show you the other items I found tomorrow.  Until then I am going to lay in the dark staring at this pumpkin.

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Blogiversary #12

cake

Lucy Girl wanted cake today, and it reminded me that I was supposed to bake a cake for a website last month.  Bright and early we went to the store and picked out a mix and some frosting.  As I was taking this picture I realized the side margins on this layout are ginormous.  It’s been forever since I messed around with the design, perhaps it’s time.  Here’s to a dozen years of The Pilver!

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Garden Goodies

Fall Count Up #2 is happening!  Today I went around my garden and yard checking out all the things thatare growing.  It’s the time of the summer when everything is producing.  I don’t have an enormous garden, as I have in years past.  This year almost everything except tree fruit is growing in raised beds than are small and manageable.  Check out what I have so far:

sunflower

I love sunflowers.  They are bright and beautiful and easy.  You can plant them once and end up with volunteers for the rest of your life.  Every spring I go on sunflower patrol or they would take over all the flower beds. This bloom has a huge fuzzy bee!

squash

Another easy crop is zucchini.  I always end up with more zucchini each year than I will ever eat in a lifetime.  And if you forget to pick them for a couple days, you get watermelon sized squashes.  They are usually too big for using, but they have seeds like pumpkins that you can roast and snack on.

pumpkinlucy

Speaking of pumpkins, here is one that Lucy-Girl carved her name into when it was teeny weenie.  This is a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, but I’m not sure it will make it to Halloween.  It looks nearly ready to pick!

tomatoes

One of the biggest crops in the garden is always tomatoes.  I always can a ton of these.  Plus using them in salads and salsas when their fresh is so gosh darn much better than using grocery tomatoes.

watermelon

One of my favorite fruits is watermelon.  While I always try to make sure the garden is well watered and fertilized, I give special attention to the melons.

apple

I have a dozen or better fruit trees as the border in my yard.  They are still young and I never get much fruit off them, but hey look!  An apple might just make it until it’s ready to pick!

plums

Here’s a couple red plums that should be ready any day.  There are also cherry, nut, apricot, pear, and peach trees.  Literally none of them have anything worthy of a photo.  I’m a terrible orchardist.

Mrs. Bakkins

This is Mrs. Balkins.  She is the only current egg layer on the farm.  She likes to come in the house and lay eggs in my bedroom.  After finally tackling that problem, the windows were left open in my truck and she started laying eggs on the seat.  Mrs. Balkins desperately wants to be a house chicken and if chicken diapers were a thing, she’d probably get her way.

Only a month or so more of gardening season.  Which is great because I am anxious to be lazy.  But now I need to stop writing for the day as I have jam on the stove that needs canning.

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Fall Count Up! #1

There are forty-three days until Autumn.  While everybody knows that fall really begins the day after Labor Day, science states that the season begins late in September.  Forty-three days away to be exact.  So I have decided to do a series of blogs dedicated to counting down until fall.  I am terrible at consistent blogging…it’s been close to a year…so instead of a countdown which I will never keep up with I decided to do a count-up.  Stay with me.  If I do a countdown, I will miss most numbers It’ll go something like 43, 27, 2.  But if I do a count-up, the numbers make zero sense to begin with.

So, Welcome to Fall Count Up #1!  Today I went to Walmart in search of something fall related.  I live in a summer tourist town and they keep the beach towels and inflatable ducks front and center until October so this was rough.  No pumpkin candles, no flannel shirts, not a piece of Halloween candy in sight.  I was figuring I would have to buy some spices and bake something fall like until I walked through the beer aisle.  And there it was.

pumpkin

Somewhere between the 347 varieties of IPA was the first sign of fall.  I don’t love pumpkin beer, by any means.  But this one is not sweet and mostly spice.  Without hesitation I grabbed the six pack like it was the last rare and coveted Christmas toy of the season.  I glanced around at the folks in tank tops and flip flops as though they may try to steal my treasure.  Nobody cared.  They all had tropical flavored IPAs and White Claw in their carts.  “Suckers”, I thought to myself.

So now I am sitting at home, drinking pumpkin beer.  After each sip I become more satisfied that I have an adult beverage with ingredients like clove and cinnamon.  I’m basically drinking a pumpkin spice candle.  Cheers!

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Egg Nog From Scratch!

On one of the last days in the month of September I was in the dairy section at my local grocery store buying what felt like the millionth gallon of milk for my job at a coffee shop.  As I was loading my cart absolutely full with jug after jug of milk and anticipating which customer nearest to me would suggest, “You should have just bought a cow!” I noticed one of the sections was bare.  I only had a split second to wonder why there was nothing behind that particular door when my curiosities were satisfied as a single quart sized carton of egg nog was placed on the shelf.  Just as soon as it was stocked, I snatched it.  It was a shining moment in my life that I will always remember.  I got the first carton of nog for the year.  I carried that quart like a trophy to the check out stand and proudly payed the woman as my perma-grin likely confused passers by.

I understand that eggnog is often a food item that is loved or hated.  I’m clearly in the love column.  I have my favorite brands.  I drink it in coffee and lattes throughout the season.  I’ll scoff at lowfat nog or flavored nog drinkers.  Egg nog is one of those things that needs no embellishment.  Sure, add it to your coffee in lieu of cream.  Use it for your French toast.  But the flavor of nog needs no enhancing so when I see vanilla eggnog, or pumpkin spice eggnog I am honestly confused as to why people are messing with beverage perfection.

So after going through a few cartons from the store I decided to take a stab at making some at home.  I have always heard how the real stuff is leaps and bounds better than anything one could find in a store.  I searched for a recipe and chose one with a whole lot of high ratings.  Here’s the link if you’d like the recipe.

I followed the instructions  verbatim, including the part where you stir the mixture while heating it on low for a full half an hour.

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It’s actually not tough to make.  But you really do have to heat the eggs, milk and sugar slowly while whisking nearly nonstop.

The last part of the recipe is the only tweak I would make to the concoction.  Once you have everything ready to go you are supposed to slightly whip heavy cream before adding it to the cooled egg juice.  The next time I make this I will not be whipping said cream but instead just stirring it in.  The whipping gave the eggnog a head to it that I did not enjoy,  The flavor was amazing.  The recipe is really great.  But instead of having a foamed top to the egg nog I would rather the thickness of the whipping cream was spread throughout.

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I’m sure I’ll still purchase many more cartons of egg nog this year.  But I definitely will also be making some.  And come January when egg nog is pulled from the shelves and the holidays are over I’ll sigh at the upcoming seasons of stupid warmth.  But at some point next July, when I’m dreaming about Thanksgiving and Christmas I know I will be able to recreate the greatest holiday drink of all time.  Cheers!

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