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September, 2011

  1. The Great Publix Adventure AGAIN!

    September 30, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    As you read this blog, I will likely be at Kelly’s house or in Publix, freaking out, as we’ve moved the Great Publix Adventure to her house for this week since she’s read so many times the adventures we’ve had and the delicious food we’ve cooked.

    On the menu: Beaux’s Harvest Bake alongside Pasta Salad!

    What would’ve been only a few people has expanded to a wider circle, which is of course okay, but now I have a kind of performance anxiety welling up inside of me. Doesn’t that sound awful? Yeah, my immediate family can eat any old thing I cook, but for other people, I want to make the food taste good.

    Every time I’ve tried to cook something for Kelly’s house, I’ve run into a failure. Nothing keeps well from my house to Kelly’s house and the 30 minute long drive down Highway 52 because some set of idiots, for some god-unknown reason, decided to reduce the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph, thereby taking me even longer to get to Dothan by 52 than it would have before.

    Anyway, the Harvest Bake is simple:

    • Morningstar Crumbles
    • Peas and Carrots
    • Potato Soup
    • Bread Crumbs and Cheese for the topping

    Cooking the crumbles a good way through, then put them in a baking dish. Cover with peas and carrots and potato soup mix. Then add the bread crumbs and cheese. Bake until golden and bubbly.


    Pasta Salad

    • Your choice of pasta. I plan to use Wacky Mac’s rainbow pasta.
    • Spinach, chopped
    • Parmesan OR Feta cheese
    • Mayonnaise

    Boil the noodles. Drain. Drizzle them with EVOO, add a little mayonnaise, add cheese and chopped spinach. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Carpe Diem! I already feel so busy!


  2. Happy Birthday, Gigi! And It’s National Coffee Day, Too! AND Michaelmas!

    September 29, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    Once again, my family’s disorganization has been somewhat counterbalanced by my preemptive planning. This is why I gave Gigi her birthday present a few weeks early, because I intuitively knew that something was going awry otherwise. This translates to Bapaw telling me to get Gigi a card as I’m leaving last night to go to a friend’s house- not to get Gigi a card while I was on the way to the store previously that day, but when I’m actually going to have a serious discussion with someone.

    Then my brother whose codename on this blog is Willy (or Pickles or something) decided to usurp my cake idea and get Gigi a red velvet cake instead of a caramel cake (as I had planned), but that’s also fine, too. Gigi gets a good cake, and everyone’s happy. Bapaw doesn’t seem particularly concerned with the card for Gigi, and to be frank, neither does Gigi.

    Gigi drinks her coffee black, I drink my coffee with milk and sometimes sweetener, and Bapaw drinks his coffee beaten and reheated and beaten some more.

    See how we fit into the various percentages of coffee drinkers in the USA.  

    In addition, today is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. The official list of archangels varies according to the Church- the Roman Catholic Church lists St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael, while the Anglican Communion (including the Episcopal Church of the USA) lists St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and St. Uriel. This holiday is also known as Michaelmas, which is pronounced like MICK-ul-mas, and takes place each year on September 29, Gigi’s birthday!

    Some lore about St. Michael:

    St. Michael is patron of knights, policemen, soldiers, paramedics, ambulance drivers, etc., and also danger at sea, for the sick, and of a holy death. He is usually depicted in art carrying a sword and/or shield, battling Satan.

    I should also point out that on the scapulars, Michael’s usually crushing Satan or stabbing him.

    More interesting information from that above website:

    Today is also one of the 4 English “Quarter Days,” days which fall around the Equinoxes or Solstices and mark the beginnings of new natural seasons (i.e., Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall) and which were used in medieval times to mark “quarters” for legal purposes, such as settling debts. The other days like this are: Lady Day (the Feast of the Annunciation) on March 25, the Feast of St. John on June 24, and Christmas on December 25.

    Apparently, one of the traditional dishes to eat on this day is a blackberry crumble, but I read elsewhere that the lore says the blackberries cannot be picked on this day. The legend goes that when St. Michael hurled Satan out of Heaven and onto Earth, Satan crash-landed in a blackberry bush and cursed it for having been stuck with the bramble.

    Let’s hope Bapaw doesn’t forget his and Gigi’s anniversary on October 12th, or she may hurl him out of the house.

    SEIZE THE DAY! One day, I’ll figure out something better to say that Carpe Diem at this point.


  3. Buttermilk and Cornbread versus Buttermilk and Crackers

    September 28, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    Admittedly, I prefer the buttermilk and crackers. Maybe this is just easier to do than buttermilk and cornbread, but the flavor also seems to be more complementary than buttermilk and cornbread. A quick seasoning of salt, and you have a wonderful meal.

    I bought more of the imported pastries- they all have that strange taste that Gigi-refers to as being “stale.” I’m not sure why they taste that way; maybe it’s something with the ingredients? They can’t actually all be stale. Maybe I should’ve bought the Mazapan (not Marzipan but much like it) instead.

    Now that autumn is here, we’ll enter into the in-between temperatures where it’s slightly cooler than preferable at times but easily remedied by a nice coat or long-sleeved shirt. My favorite part of autumn is seeing the trees turn that very particular shade of green against the blue sky; I can scarcely believe that October is almost upon us! I won’t let anyone forget about that green and the blue sky, either, just so you all know.

    Again, I dread the winter months. They’ve no redeeming qualities in Alabama save Christmas and perhaps New Year’s Day, both of which are dreadfully commercialized and reduced to a kind of unnecessary stress. Beyond that, there’s nothing except uncomfortably cold weather with no snow to beautify it.

    Enough complaining! That’s such a tradition in the South that it’s difficult to escape it, and you’ll have to forgive me.

    Anyway, yes, it’s strange just how many saltine crackers a person can eat when they’re doused into buttermilk. Three-quarters of a pack can easily be put into a bowl once crushed, and the added buttermilk makes a porridge that cannot go challenged. I’ve yet to make it to the point where I can just drink buttermilk by itself, though the day may be coming in the future.

    My big question right now is what kind of vitamins and minerals could possibly be in buttermilk that cause me to crave it in the way I do?

    And now, here I am, hours later, thinking I had posted this, only to return home and discover I had not. Sorry about that, everyone.


  4. Olive Soup, Reprise

    September 27, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    Making a new recipe usually requires a second try to work out all the flaws the first one had. This time, I actually put the olives in the soup from the get-go, and so I now know that olives and green onions are good friends.

    The adventurous part of me wanted to add extra spices, but something told me, “No, this is good. This is the way it should taste. Quick, easy, and delicious!”

    The broth part of a soup is certainly the most important, as it determines the flavor of the starchy contents to a high degree.

    And I will never make borscht again if I can help it.

    Next phase for the olive soup is get tofu and try it in the soup to see what that tastes like.

    Carpe Diem, and sorry for such a short entry. These days are a bit strange in the cooking department, I know, but this Friday should yield a truly amazing set of recipes! Or maybe it won’t. Life’s odd like that.



  5. Cici’s Pizza and a Lack of Words

    September 26, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    At least, a lack of words with regard to the world of food. My inner foodie isn’t entirely gone; I’ve just not been cooking nearly as much as I should be. Too many of my meals have been reduced to buttermilk and crackers, which is terrible. The food isn’t terrible, but to only be eating those- good grief!

    Last night, someone had the bright idea for us to go to eat at Cici’s Pizza in Dothan. Cici’s Pizza is a cheap pizza buffet that offers salad, breadsticks, and an ever-alternating line of pizza, including a macaroni and cheese pizza that doesn’t exactly mesh well with me and the Holy Grail of all spinach pizzas as well. The unfortunate aspect of eating at Cici’s on a Sunday is that the area churches bring their youth groups to eat with them.

    We managed to get in just before the youth groups arrived- two of our friends were left waiting outside as they arrived late, and I felt bad that we had already sat and begun eating while they were still in line behind the five-thousand children.

    The cinnamon rolls, one of the offered desserts, are some of the best I’ve ever had. And I would also suggest when buying a buffet and drink to simply get the small drink, as the small drink is cheaper than the larger one and you can have as many free refills as you like.

    Again, I point everyone to the spinach pizza- divine. Absolutely divine.

    One of the busboys politely asked me if we were with one of the youth groups. Naturally, a sarcastic streak in me arose and wanted to tell him that the group consisting of stylishly dressed, 20-something year old men sitting on one side of the restaurant (while all the youth groups avoided us and sat on the other side of the restaurant) were indeed there with the youth groups. Of course, I had on my Green Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so I can understand the confusion since our area is so overpopulated with Eucharistic Christianity (read: Catholics, Episcopalians, and Orthodox). ((Yes, that was sarcasm.))

    But I refrain from making such catty comments to innocent bystanders and informed him that we had just come to eat and weren’t with the youth groups. He was, after all, just being friendly, and the world is filled quite enough with rudeness as it is. Sometimes, though, the sarcasm has to be expressed somewhere.

    Our friend at Cici’s did inevitably give us the punchline of the evening when on of the youth group women left a Bible on the table, and our friend rushed out to return it to her, telling her she had left it. It appeared to be a small Gideon’s Bible, so likely the people were leaving the Bible as a kind of passive-aggressive witnessing.

    This is a kind of witnessing that takes more thought than the normal Evangelical Witnessing; somewhere, someone figured out that you cannot just shove your beliefs down someone else’s throat, so the next best possible method is to leave out articles relating to the beliefs and hope that someone will be at their worst possible point in their life and will choke on them by accident, thereby boosting your ego that someone else agrees with your narrow and constricted View of the Lord™.

    Back to the point, Cici’s pizza really is worth the buffet price, and you really should go check it out- but perhaps not on a Sunday night, unless you’re going with a youth group and suggesting it to them.

    Seize the day!




  6. Categorizations of Food Difficulty and Other Musings

    September 25, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    One thing to consider when cooking is that the true talent in preparation is not simply in the food that has the most or rarest ingredients; one must also consider the method of preparing the food.

    For instance, one could have on hand the best sorts of food, the finest and most expensive ingredients, and then end up preparing them using the microwave- which, of course, is not to speak down or illy of the microwave and its usefulness, as it does have its place, but it is to make the point that this wouldn’t be appropriate.

    Likewise, one may be preparing a simple food (say, grilled cheese) but use extremely fine ingredients- fresh, crusty French bread and expensive blue cheese and freshly minced garlic with European butter- and create an absolute masterpiece.

    These are just some thoughts rolling around in my head. My blog entry yesterday wasn’t so very long, and then, while reflecting on it last night, I realized that I had a sense of incompletion in my day in that I hadn’t really written as much as I should. Now, I don’t plan to entirely counteract that today by writing far too much, but I do think its worthy to note that writing is one of those things that I must do or risk suffering if I don’t do it. Drinking coffee would come to a close second.

    Isn’t it wonderful, though, to be addicted to something productive like writing? That’s a worthy thing to celebrate today! With all the drugs and terrible habits people find themselves caught in, imagine that, I’ve come upon writing as my own drug.

    Friday night, I went to see Kelly on her deck as an impromptu event. We had plans to go fishing on Saturday at our friend David’s house, but I cancelled due to an unfortunate circumstance. I’ve not been fishing in years, and I do wonder if catching fish would change my mind about whether or not I eat them. I might then reduce my list to shrimp and other varieties of seafood without eating outright fish. Am I really becoming a full-blown vegetarian? Who knows? I’ve not a problem in the world if I am, though it’ll make eating out more difficult.

    I took my bottle of non-alcoholic Sparkling Red Grape Juice to Kelly’s. I love sparkling grape juice. It’s much better tasting than alcohol and doesn’t get one drunk. Incidentally, it was also the autumnal equinox, so I took one of my Novena candles (a plain white one) to say a prayer and pray for a good fall this year.

    Wistful feelings stir within as leaves without soon will; the chill will delicately play in the air until finally we enter into winter and experience its terrifying, icy grips. Last year was the first year I grew to hate winter, though that was for a number of reasons, not the least of which was how cold I was the whole time, and no, I’m not going to let anyone forget that.

    In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the mildness of the weather as it comes and goes. Hopefully the chills won’t come too terribly soon, and we’ll be able to experience the mildness and celebrate it.

    Now that I have the juicer, I’ll be able to make all kinds of great-tasting juice recipes and enjoy myself with those. Kelly mentioned a recipe book which I’ll have to look into and use. I wonder if pumpkins can be put in the juicer?

    Also, this year, people began Halloween exceptionally early. At this point, it’s okay, I suppose, being the end of September, but it began at the end of August…very strange that the collective minds have shifted in that direction. Christmas shall also come early this year, I’m afraid- watch for Santa before Halloween is over.

    Carpe Diem!





  7. Not a Long Entry

    September 24, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    Today is TRY 2 of making Spaghetti-Os taste good. This time, I included rosemary and chicken bouillon (again, the vegetarian kind that’s just flavored really good) in addition to the ingredients I had used last time.

    Also, remember the juicer? Yes, it’s at my house now. ON TO THE WORLD OF JUICING AND HAVING DELICIOUS NUTRITION!


  8. Discovery of the Day: Olives

    September 23, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    I love olives, truth be told.

    Today, I discovered that the love of my life, olives, can be used in soup.

    Yes, you heard me. Olives, in soup.

    This soup recipe came about entirely by accident, and then I added olives and just woah, happy days are here again!


    What you need:

    • 12 ounces of rainbow rotini (the multi-colored spiral pasta)
    • two packs of shrimp ramen flavoring OR 2 of your preferred kind of bouillon cubes
    • five or six good green onions, chopped
    • olive oil
    • a jar of olives


    What you do:

    1. Wash and chop up the green onions.
    2. Boil 2 or 3 quarts of water.
    3. Add salt and shrimp packets OR bouillon
    4. Add EVOO (maybe a Tablespoon)
    5. Add the noodles as the water boils.
    6. Cook for about 10 minutes. Around 7 or 8 minutes, add the chopped green onions.
    7. Add olives additionally as you wish. They’re quite salty, so go easy if you can’t handle much salt.


    Serve with garlic bread and red wine or sparkling grape juice.

    Carpe Diem!



  9. Caramel Sauce Video

    September 22, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    Gigi made the point that caramel sauce sounds as though it could be difficult, and yes, as I understand it, it’s easy to mess up. So to help everyone out, I went hunting on Youtube for a video to show off what one does. Check this out!






    More later!


  10. Caramel Cake Icing Recipe from The Help

    September 21, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    “Never Fail Creamy Caramel Icing

    2 1/2 c. sugar
    1 slightly beaten egg
    1 stick of butter
    3/4 c. milk
    1 t. vanilla

    Melt 1/2 cup of sugar in iron skillet slowly, until brown and runny. Mix egg, butter, remaining sugar, and milk in a saucepan and cook over a low flame until butter melts. Turn the heat up to medium and add the browned sugar. Cook until it reaches the soft ball stage or until mixture leaves sides of pan. This takes about 10 minutes. Remove from fire, let cool slightly, and add vanilla. Beat until right consistency to spread. If it gets too thick add a little cream. This will ice a 2 layer cake.”

    Taken from Kathryn Stockett’s website.

    Now I want caramel cake!