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What's for Dinner? Part 82 [old]

we're ok, i don't think anyone was hurt, and we only lost a couple of potted plants from the back deck. our neighbors had their car crushed by a tree, and someone down the street had their entire roof of their shed come off and fly past our house. two billboards were snapped off at the base, lots of business signs were knocked down (walgreens, cvs, taco bell, two different grocery stores, etc). it was pretty crazy. we rescued one of my daughter's friends, a little girl 12 years old, who was running down the street in the rain after her house got hit by lightning. she was home alone at the time, her mom had gone to the store and could not get home for all the trees down. we picked her up and drove her to her grandfather's house. my husband, being a photographer, and myself being a paramedic, we immediately got into the car and starting circling the area looking for people to help and things to photograph.

Apr 10, 2011
meltygarden in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner? Part 82 [old]

bah, so much for plans. Dinner never happened. I was halfway through cooking when a tornado hit our area. Lost power, didn't get it back until just recently. So, last night's dinner is finishing cooking now. I threw it in the fridge last night before we went out to help the neighbors.

Apr 10, 2011
meltygarden in Home Cooking

What are you a stubborn purist about?

Margaritas should be over rocks, not frozen. I don't know if that's a purist thing, but I can't stand the frozen ones, too much like a daquiri. Other than that, I don't like people messing with my traditional Cajun staples, such as Gumbo and Jambalaya and Etoufee. I'm also not amused when people use lime flavoring or regular lime juice in something and then call it "Key Lime". The taste is extremely different, not even close. And while we're at it, you don't boil crawfish in Old Bay. You just don't. Stop that.

Apr 09, 2011
meltygarden in General Topics

Advice for eating in Paris w/ a Vegan at non-vegan restaurants

Oh, I see what you mean. You were talking about eating in vegetarian restaurants together to begin with. I was thinking of the vegetarian eating at omnivore restaurants but trying to order "safe" things there. Okay, gotcha. :) (also omnivore here...but with friends who range from opportunivore to vegan to crazy-allergic-to-everything.)

Apr 09, 2011
meltygarden in France

I never eat _______ out because nobody makes it right but me.

Eggs. I don't trust anyone to get eggs right except myself, my dad and my daughters (because they've been taught well!) Gumbo and Jambalaya, because it is downright offensive what some people call by those names. You can't just add tomato sauce, cayenne and okra and call it cajun, ugh. Same for Key Lime Pie. That's a very specific thing, and that thing is NOT lime flavored pudding topped with Cool Whip. I never get seafood unless I am very near the coast, and even then only if I can tell by the smell of the restaurant (usually I can) whether or not it's fresh or frozen. Does anybody else get kind of upset when their native dishes are butchered?

Apr 09, 2011
meltygarden in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner? Part 82 [old]

If it quits raining long enough, I'm going to crank up the grill and do hamburgers stuffed with blue cheese. On the side some spinach and garlic fried rice and the first salad of the year from our garden, with baby butter lettuce, sugar snap peas, pea tendrils, and whatever sprouts I thin out from the carrots, beets, broccoli and cabbages. If it doesn't quit raining, I'll mix the garlic into the ground beef and make meatballs to simmer in a tomato-olive-caper sauce and serve that over the spinach rice.

Apr 09, 2011
meltygarden in Home Cooking

Advice for eating in Paris w/ a Vegan at non-vegan restaurants

I don't understand why a vegan and omnivore would have to eat their meals separately, unless the vegan is so offended by animal products that she can't even be in the same room with them, in which case she will be hard-pressed to find any restaurant outside of California or Washington that will be acceptable. I assume she's ok with other people's choices, since she's dating an omnivore to begin with, so they should be able to be together for meals, meat or not.

Other than that, it might go over better if the vegan claims to be allergic to animal products rather than claiming it as a dietary choice. This might meet with better sympathy and willingness to accommodate her than claiming a special diet choice or even religious principles. Even then, she's probably going to have to relax a little and realize that things are going to sneak in here and there unless she simply cooks for herself at every meal.

Apr 09, 2011
meltygarden in France

Breakfast for the working

It just depends on what is going on that day. My daily schedule varies quite a bit. I always have a huge mug of milky coffee the minute my eyes are open, but I don't want food until at least 11 or so - my stomach just can't deal with it. If it's going to be past 1pm before I have another chance to eat, I'll fix something at home, usually just reheated leftovers unless there is something specific I am craving. Otherwise I will just throw a couple of pieces of fruit and a yogurt into my purse along with a big jug of water to get me through until I get home again. I always have GORP and wholegrain crackers in my car, so between that and the fruit and yogurt I'm covered for quite a while during the day.

Apr 09, 2011
meltygarden in General Topics

"Different, but not strange" - what's on your breakfast plate?

people who aren't from the southern US seem to find grits strange, I guess. In my house we do it a little different, cooking the grits in vegetable or chicken stock instead of water. I throw in a couple of garlic cloves to cook with the grits so they are soft enough to mash up at the end. Before serving I mince up additional garlic and onions and brown them very lightly in butter, then mix that in along with some sharp cheddar cheese and obscene amounts of black pepper. We've also been known to eat hot cornbread wedges with hot milk, cinnamon and honey poured over it as a breakfast "cereal", but I think this is a midwestern farmboy sort of thing that we adopted from friends.

Apr 09, 2011
meltygarden in General Topics

"Breakfast" around the world

Southern American here, grew up mostly in Florida and Louisiana. But my parents were also hippies and I think that had some effect. Anyway the standby when I was little was regular oatmeal, the slow-cooked kind, with cinnamon and raisins, sometimes some grated fresh apple or applesauce added for extra nutrition, butter and honey or brown sugar. A little less often we would have fish and grits - usually fried mullet or catfish, and if it was a female mullet the large, oblong eggs would also be breaded and fried and served with grits with lots of black pepper and butter. Mom had milky coffee only....not a morning person, that one. I usually had black tea with milk or with honey and lemon along with my breakfast. Once I got old enough to get myself up and ready for school, Mom quit getting up so early and my typical breakfast became either packets of instant oatmeal, a big glass of milk with Carnation Instant Breakfast, or a smaller glass of milk with one of the Carnation Instant Breakfast Bars. For my own daughters I always played short-order cook for breakfast for them. :) Oatmeal, cream of wheat, french toast, grilled cheese, eggs over medium or scrambled, with dill either way, cinnamon toast, breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, refried beans, salsa and cheese, vegetable-cheese omelettes, toast with Marmite and butter, peanut butter-honey sandwiches, fresh fruit and yogurt, homemade granola or muffins or pancakes with a protein on the side....whatever they wanted, really, but they had to give me a little notice for muffins or banana bread obviously. When left to their own devices, the older daughter usually just grabs a yogurt or melts some cheese on a tortilla. The younger daughter will make ramen or a sandwich.

Apr 09, 2011
meltygarden in General Topics

What else is your go to breakfast besides eggs?

i'm not usually big on typical breakfast-type foods. occasionally i get a craving, but most days i prefer to heat up leftovers from the previous night's dinner, or cheese on toast, or a burrito filled with whatever is in the fridge that seems burrito-friendly, or a roasted plain sweet potato (hot or cold), or ramen....but mostly i just find some leftovers to heat up.

Apr 09, 2011
meltygarden in General Topics

Nasty Little Treats

i don't think this is too awful, but lots of people seem revolted by it: smoked oysters on Triscuits with swiss cheese.

Banana and mayonnaise sandwiches. About the only reason I ever buy white bread is to satisfy this craving.

Iceberg lettuce and plain old yellow mustard sandwiches on Roman Meal whole wheat bread.

Oil-packed tuna, drained, with a few drops of toasted sesame oil, fresh lemon juice, soy sauce and nutritional yeast. Either over salad greens (no dressing needed) or as a sandwich filling.

Vanilla ice cream topped with fresh-ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and honey. Mmmm, gritty.

Apr 09, 2011
meltygarden in General Topics

School Lunch Mockery

We were concerned about this with our daughters, too. We live in a notoriously closed-minded area of the southeastern US and even I, as an adult, have had people come running into the breakroom at lunch to see what I was having so they could wrinkle their nose up and act disgusted about it. Maybe we just got lucky, but here's what was successful for us: we adopted the Japanese custom of Bento lunches. You can get bento supplies online for cheap and they are really cute! I practiced arranging foods in a visually interesting manner, making stuffed rice balls shaped like hearts, stars and triangles with little black sesame seed eyes and smiles snipped from a piece of nori, for example. The lunches were so visually attractive that the other kids had a really positive response to them, even though a lot of the food included was stuff they had never eaten before. Eventually I started having to pack my daughters 2 lunches each, because their friends were wanting to sample everything and they would be left hungry. It may depend on the particular kids at your child's school and also on your daughter's attitude as well. If she's already self-conscious, this might add fuel to the fire or set the tone for how people react to things, unfortunately. If she's just fearing that people *might* react poorly, that's one thing. If they actually start reacting poorly, well, perhaps you'll have to alter her lunch ingredients to be healthier than the typical institutional stuff while still not being completely alien to the other kids. Cooked and chilled cheese ravioli with a container of marinara for a dip, pasta salads, pierogi, meatballs (or nutballs, if vegetarian) with a little container of ketchup dip...sanwiches can contain just about anything if you cut them into a cute shape and still be acceptable even if there's a judgmental little twit sitting nearby.

Apr 09, 2011
meltygarden in Features