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The absent blogger

paula
Hey, remember me? I have been meaning to post links to the stuff I'm writing for the paper every week, but, I never got around to it. So, for anyone who is interested, and for my own nostalgia, here are most of the columns I've written the last few months. There are a few that didn't make them on their site. Some of them I find funnier than others. Some of them I find completely lame, but the important thing is that I'm trying again and hopefully will find my groove again. (I'm not allowed to post content, just links, I'm not deliberately trying to make your life a living hell by having to click on one extra thing.)

I've certainly had better days:
http://portlandleader.net/articles/2012/10/12/opinion/13623963.txt


Ten reasons moms are cranky:
http://portlandleader.net/articles/2012/10/12/opinion/13741498.txt


Step away from the hat:
http://portlandleader.net/articles/2012/10/19/opinion/13822345.txt


Happy fall, y'all:
http://portlandleader.net/articles/2012/10/26/opinion/13903537.txt


All you really need is some good laundry detergent:
http://portlandleader.net/articles/2012/11/02/opinion/13992469.txt


Do they make baby Ambien yet?
http://portlandleader.net/articles/2012/11/09/opinion/14137518.txt


Let's all take a moment to be thankful:
http://portlandleader.net/articles/2012/11/18/opinion/doc50a6612c410fb814631856.txt

This is a very pinteresting blog

paula
I briefly mentioned Pinterest on my last post so I guess I'll just make this one part of a 2 part series on the phenomenon that is Pinterest. Like many of you, I'm on it. I have been for a while now, falling in love with it almost instantly sometime early this year because of what else? Food. I love, love, love the recipe ideas I've been getting from there because let's face it, pictures of food are GOOD. I've found some great new recipes, too. Win.

Then my love quickly faded, as it usually does, because my brain has exactly two functions regarding anything, ever: "OH MY GOD I MUST DO THIS THING ALL THE TIME! MORE MORE MORE!" and "Eh, whatever." This can best be illustrated by the love affairs I have with iPhone games. I find it, love it day and night, create 50 million games at a time, avoid all aspects of my life to play it and then just as suddenly as my love for it blossomed I will turn my back on it faster than you can play Qi on Words with Friends on a triple Q. (Right now I'm whoring myself out to Jewels with Buddies because I got tired of Matching with Friends, Draw Something, Scramble, Poker, Words with Friends and my short-lived obsessions with Chess with Friends and Hanging with Friends.)

Anyway, I still go back to Pinterest once a week or so to inspire my kitchen escapades and occasionally fantasize about my dream kitchen and make virtual Post It notes about things I'll never do, places I'll never go, parties I'll never throw and clothes I'll never wear--but the problem is it's littered with 2 categories of other things:

1. This is amazing. How could I have lived this long not knowing this?

Example: Put a wooden spoon over a pot of boiling pasta and it will not spill over. Yes, it works! My smooth-surfaced cooktop thanks you, Pinterest.
90283167500092315_MSiGlFUc_f

and

2. Are you fucking kidding me? Why would anyone a) think of this? b) execute this? c) have nothing better to do in life than try this? d) see that someone else did this and then want to do it too?

Obviously, since I'm me, we'll be discussing category #2 in my Top 4 Stupid Pinterest Things That I'm Sure Would Be Much More But This Is All I Can Think Of Right Now Off The Top Of My Head:

1. Crockpot Overkill.
Did you know you can make bread in a Crockpot?
Did you know you can make cake in a Crockpot?
Did you know you can make corn and baked potatoes in a Crockpot?
Did you know you can spend $12 and feed a family of 6 for 8 months by using nothing but your Crockpot, a bag of Cheerios and a can of Cream of Chicken soup?
Did you know you can put your 2002 Nokia flip phone in a Crockpot, add some glitter and a tube of caulk and in 12 hours you'll have an iPhone?
Did you know you can...WE GET IT, PINTEREST! Where's God? Maybe we can get him to cry a tear into a Crockpot for the 2nd coming of Jesus in 6-8 hours on Low.

2. DIY/Crafty Nonsense:
Look, I love and appreciate a good project and I am a little crafty myself, so there are some things I find simply adorable. But not stuff like this:

50735933271696786_4JPDdSFE_c  129689664238963321_A1L4BSUX

Voila? Voila! You tied an ugly shirt around your waist! My, my you should go to design school! I mean wtf? Apparently there's an epidemic of women out there who can't afford clothes and must resort to raiding their boyfriend's closets and transforming his old rags into shitty clothing. The first girl looks like someone I'd see doing the walk of shame down Fraternity Row when I was in college and the second one just looks like a twit with a shirt around her waist, like she got her period in white shorts. Do us all a favor and just go to Target.

3. Stuff that makes me realize what a shitty mother I am because I would never take the time to do any of this:

43276846390174482_PJNIYRd9_b Well isn't that just totes adorbs? Yeah. My kids get their oatmeal in a bowl. Without a fruit worm. Or a cheese sun.

61291244898363403_1MlBv0TD_c
First of all, I would spend 6 hours making this sandwich and then my kids would say "Eww. What's that green stuff? and is that WHITE cheese? Gross." and then they wouldn't eat it, I'd make PB&J on white bread with no crust, the dog would steal it off the table when nobody was looking and I'd end up feeling like a failure even if I DID make it, so no Mater sammiches here.

284641638919322692_jaFL9Oqg_b "Make a onesie out of an old T-shirt!" Again with the old T-shirts?

4. Just...why?

166562886188648022_pDCjeoT8_b
"Make brownies in egg shells!"  ...Orrrrr you could just make brownies in a pan, yanno, because those didn't come out of a chicken's ass.





Tags:

Summer "fun" and a recipe

cooking, domestic goddess
It's amazing how productive, organized, June Cleaver-y I can be (in my head) when I look at Pinterest. I intended to make a grocery list/meal plan for the week yesterday and it took like 17 hours because a) my kids are annoying and b) Pinterest is DISTRACTING. I got some yummy new recipes I want to try this week though so hopefully it'll be worth it. I wanted some Chinese food yesterday and since we live in Nogoodrestaurantsville, USA I made some my damn self and it turned out pretty good. Recipe below so I don't forget how I did it and in case any of my 2 readers want to make some stir fry. I know it's not like...actual Chinese food, but it killed the craving and it's almost healthy minus the oil for stir-frying and the sugar in some of the sauces but it's better than stuffing your face with lots of other stuff you could stuff your face with so back off.

In other news, my husband took the kids for "trims" yesterday and they both came back with butchered hair that makes me question the sanity of whoever is working at Supercuts in this damn town (and the sanity of him for paying for it...but...I am allowed to hate Supercuts, not him, so....). I know you can't except much from Supercuts but they certainly aren't doing anything to discredit that reputation with the likes of this, now are they?

Since we can't afford a real pool we went out and bought one of those ginormous inflatable ones that we can all fit in if we wanted to and the kids can actually SWIM in it. The positive side of this is that my kids have some entertainment, I have some time to sit and read outside under a shade tree while watching them not drown, and come July-August some relief from the hell-on-earth temperatures that Tennessee will be sweltering in that will make me desperate enough to actually get in said pool and vegetate in the cool-ish water. The negative side of this is that we'll look like total trashy rednecks but heat can make you do some crazy things, yanno? Besides, we have a fenced backyard so our shame will only be limited to our immediate neighbors who are unfortunately unlucky enough to be able to see over the fence. Sorry.

That's all for now.
_____________________________
Chicken Stir Fry:

Marinate thinly sliced chicken breast pieces in soy sauce & ginger sesame salad dressing for several hours or overnight

Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for several minutes until scorching hot. Brown the chicken on all sides, you may need to do this in two batches. (I did, with about 1.5 lbs of chicken)

Remove from skillet, then add chopped onions and bell peppers in the skillet. Any other veggies you want (mushrooms, celery, carrots, baby corns, zucchini, squash...really, the possibilities are endless, but I kept it simple last night with onions, red and green peppers and broccoli) should go in now, except broccoli- I steam that and add at the very end because scorched/browned/burned broccoli tastes like shit. Cook for a few minutes until cooked but still a little crunchy, then add the chicken back in the pan.

Deglaze pan with about 1/4 cup Mirin. Then add a mixture (that you should make ahead of time) of about 1 tablespoon corn starch, whisked with about 1/4 cup water until dissolved. Add to that about 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup oyster sauce, 1 cloved minced garlic, 1-2-3 tsp Sriracha sauce depending on how spicy you like things and add that to the pan, stir for a minute until it thickens and then serve over rice. (I used Jasmine rice)

If I was a real food blogger I'd have taken pics but I'm not a real food blogger, I just don't want to forget how I made this 'cause I made it up as I went along, and it was a hit. My kids even ate it, sans vegetables, of course.
paula
Oh crap where do I begin? Let's talk about the vacation y'all didn't even know I was going on because that's how long it's been since my lazy blogging ass has blogged. Of course, if you are on my FB or Twitter then you'd know about it because I posted a bit too much about it and probably lost some followers over it. Shrug.

My husband got this new job back in December that requires him to travel. A lot. So much so that in those several months since he started traveling he's already racked up several free airline tickets. BOOM! Now we're speaking my language, new job. One day, a couple of months ago, I casually asked "so how many 'miles' have you racked up yet with Southwest?" thinking he'd say some small amount, but when he told me, my response was something like "OH MY F'ING GOD WHY HAVEN'T YOU TOLD ME THAT WHY HAVEN'T WE GONE ANYWHERE YET LET'S GO SOMEWHERE NOOOOOOOOOOOOW."

So we coordinated with my mother (who is awesome) to watch the kids and we booked our long weekend (Thurs-Sun)  trip to...Denver. Why Denver, you ask? I have no idea. I have just always wanted to go, it sounded cool, and why not, this is just one of many (hopefully) little getaways we'll be able to take from now on every so often.

THEN the trip got even better when his job offered to pay for his ticket, 4 days of hotels and the rental car for the whole week if he'd spend 3 days before our trip doing work stuff out there...ummm Yes! So what we signed up for was him working Monday - Wednesday all over the state of Colorado, a different city each day, and me DOING WHATEVER I WANTED ALL DAY LONG WHILE HE WAS AT WORK. Um? Are you kidding me? Three whole days in a hotel with a book and a TV and new cities to explore all day long...yeah. I'll take it.

Naturally the universe started messing with me the day before our trip when little E got so sick we had to make an emergency visit to the doctor on Saturday because of horrendous nose bleeding and turns out he had Strep. Here, let me just summarize this:

Saturday: Doctor basically says OMG cancel trip your kid is in dire straits and one more nose bleed he's going straight to the ER and he will have to be put to sleep and scoped and it will be the worst thing that has ever happened to you or him ever, DO YOU HEAR ME?! Ok it wasn't that dramatic but when it's your kid that's what you hear, it was serious, it was bad.
Later that day: we cancel the flights.
Later later that evening: Doctor calls, surprised he's stopped bleeding, there is no more danger of hospital, he's recovered the blood he's lost...you should totally go on your trip.
Really, universe? Really?
Saturday night: re-book flights, surprisingly they weren't *too* much more, and we're just worried about mine anyway because his was covered by work.
Sunday: WE LEAVE! Hooray. Kid was fine. It was a big to-do about nothing. Well, not nothing, but it looked reeeeeeally bad for a small time and then it was fine. (Side note: on our first flight there was a stowaway AND some lady passed out AND I actually got to hear a flight attendant say "Are there any medical personnel on board today? We have an emergency."...which I thought only happened on movies. Anyway, she was fine and later I noticed she was reading Fifty Shades of Grey and that's probably why she fainted or had a stroke from the horrendous writing.)

So last week I spent Sunday-Sunday in the beautiful state of Colorado and we drove well over a thousand miles in a little rented Honda and it was some amazingly beautiful scenery. Here are a few highlights in text and pics in no particular order:

1. At first glance I was like JOHN DENVER IS FULL OF CRAP THIS PLACE IS FLAT! Because if you've ever been to Denver the airport area is FLAT and you can't see mountains in the dark. Also, right as I was contemplating the vast flatness, this ginormous white owl scurries across the road and I start contemplating are owls really this big and white and aren't they supposed to fly and that might be the coolest thing I've ever seen because I'm pretty sure that was Hedwig. Incidentally, that was the only interesting  wildlife sighting save a giant parrot piggyback on some dude riding a bike and also a dog the size of a horse being heisted up on the back of a pickup truck and tied down like luggage. (Edited to add: As I was reminded in comments below, there was also a fox. A big one. It ran right past us on the street while we were standing outside a donut shop in Breckenridge.)

2. There are actually lots of beautiful mountains there, and I saw them. A lot. For the next seven days. (This pic was taken near Breckenridge)


2. This is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen (on the way up to Pike's Peak...it's a lake right in the middle of going up a mountain...madness):
 

3. Photobombers live among us. Everywhere. Don't let your guard down. (Garden of the Gods)


4. Free beer tastes better than beer you pay for. (Coors Brewery) and pools are prettier, albeit colder, when they're surrounded by mountains. (Breckenridge).


5. It's really, really cold (17 degrees to be exact and that does not include the insane wind chill factor) and really, really windy and really, really amazing being 14,000 feet up in the air. (The summit of Pike's Peak)


6. This is what I look like when I've spent 3 days in a little car driving more than a thousand miles (No idea where this was taken. Somewhere in Colorado on a highway going to somewhere else in Colorado...Grand Junction area, maybe? Colorado Springs? Who knows at this point.):


7. For 5 days I looked at various variants of this and yes as a matter of fact I DID put the John Denver station on Pandora (when we had coverage) because I'm a dork :


8. My next vacation will not involve that much road-trippery, BUT, I am glad we did it because that state is sooo pretty and I got to see so much more of it than I ever thought I would. Oh! And, before I die, I have to go see a concert here at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. All I got to see this time was the aftermath of a high school graduation we snuck into. Because we are badasses.


jacob, disney
Since my last post, the kid had his birthday party, turned seven and lost his first tooth (finally). Hoorah! Let's discuss, in order:

Birthday party: Was a disaster of epic proportions, but fortunately he's too young and innocent and distracted by shiny and sugary objects to notice that NOBODY SHOWED UP. Thank the baby Jesus that two of his sweet little friends graced us with their presence that day, and one of them was dangerously close to not being able to come but was only able to because his baseball team lost a tournament game and was released from the fields. PRAISE! Totally kidding. I am sorry he lost. Very, very sorry.
Noteworthy Notables:
1. Maybe the Value Pack of 100 party plates was a bit much.
2. People are huge dickwads and don't know what RSVP means.
3. With enough candy, cupcakes, brownies, pizza and a pinata full of 18 pounds of candy, little boys will not notice that 90% of their friends blew off their party.
4. Never having a party again, so I hope he enjoyed it.
5. Redeeming part of the whole thing? I got to wear this, since it was a costume party:

I only wore it for like 12 seconds because it was so hot, but still.  2 other pics because pic a) is ADORABLE and pic b) because I slaved over 24 of these freakin' cupcakes and nobody showed up and all 3 readers of this blog can at least ooooh and ahhhh over my mad baking skillz. and c) because I can't let the only picture I post be of myself. I'm selfless like that.


I'm not bitter at all.

Moving on...he didn't actually turn 7 until Sunday, the party was the Saturday before last. Sunday we took him to his favorite restaurant for lunch (Mexican, I've trained him well.) and then to Monkey Joes to jump around like a damn fool play for a while. My first experience with MJ's wasn't very lovely, it was a Saturday afternoon birthday party and I stayed in a fetal position for a couple of days recovering afterwards. Needless to say, I wasn't looking forward to his choice of birthday activities. Anywho, turns out, on a Sunday right-when-they-open, it wasn't so bad at all. The jury is still out on what kind of diseases we picked up there, but the crowd was manageable. And, as a bonus, we got a pic of my youngest child flying through time and space via a bouncy slide at a negative angle.


Last but not least...so, my kid finally loses his first tooth and it's all fun and games until you get down to the business of replacing the tooth with goodies during the night. I mean, who came up with this stupid idea anyway? I am guessing the same person who came up with Elf on the Shelf. I know in theory it doesn't seem that difficult, but when your kid has bunk beds and 27 pillow pets, it's not that easy. I went in three separate times last night looking for my golden opportunity but each and every time he was protecting that damn tooth with his entire mass (all 44 pounds of it) of body weight and unless I CLIMBED UP ON THE BUNK BED I could not get to the F'ing thing. Eventually, I went in, guns blazing, DETERMINED to succeed come hell or high water- or die trying. I did almost die trying, by the way. Have you ever tried to navigate a 7 year-old boy's mini-hoarder of a room in the dark? It's a landmine field of Transformers, Hot Wheels and Legos. FUCKING LEGOS! OH HOW I HATE THE LEGOS, but that's another blog.

Anyway- After getting my hand stuck in the slats of the bunkbed for a good 4 minutes and cursing whoever decided this was a good idea, I accomplished my mission. Only to wake up to a crying child who thought the tooth fairy took his tooth and left him nothing in return- because sometime during the night he flailed around enough to knock the money, (sugarless) gum and a love-note from the tooth fairy telling him to brush his teeth more because this one looks a little grody- down the side of the bed. Thanks, bitch.

Parties make my head hurt

cooking, domestic goddess
Why do I let kid's birthday parties stress me out so much? Every year I go through the same circus (Remember the BATMAN party, anyone?) and every year it turns out just fine and yet I still take years off my life...and why? Because 6 year-olds really care what they eat at a birthday party? Well, this year, I said NO MORE!! This is going to be a low-stress, low-key, small party. He's turning 7 by the way. SEVEN. How did that happen?

He was just this, like, I don't know, 2 years ago?



And now he's this:



I know every parent does this "where does the time go" crap...but really...WHERE DOES IT GO?

Anyway...back to parties. We've done parties of many themes but this year he decided he wanted a costume party. Hmm...ok. Whatever you want, kiddo. Costumes in March (which is really August temps here) should be super comfortable. I digress. He's going to be Robin and by some miracle yesterday at Party City I found a baby Batman costume for his little brother. Clever, I know.  Then I started rummaging through the accessories section and came up with a costume idea for me. So I can be FUN MOM for a change. Anyway, $85 dollars later, I emerged with a tiny Batman costume, party favors, plates, cups, feather boas, sequin masks, etc...you know, the usual.

People? Ok, this year I'm not going to invite everyone for the sake of inviting them to a party. I'm going to streamline it for just his friends he actually plays with and grandparents, etc. That part was easy enough, but I'm sure somewhere along the way someone will get their feelings hurt because they didn't get invited to a boring 7 year-old's birthday party.

Then there's the food. SIMPLE, remember, Paula? SIMPLE. Ok...we'll just get some pizzas. For the kids. If parents come they can have some pizza if they want but I'm not going to go on my all out buffet of deliciousness. Then I decide I need a hot dip. Maybe 2 hot dips. I can't expect parents to just sit around and not munch on something?

Then there's the cake...store bought cupcakes are so ick...so I will have to make those myself. And the parents might not want cupcakes, I should make a more adult-friendly dessert, too. And are 2 dips enough? Maybe some other kind of appetizer to round it out.

AND DO YOU SEE HOW THIS SPIRALS OUT OF CONTROL?



vols
WARNING: I'm not in a good mood and I'm also in the mood to write and that can only mean one thing- a big ass post full of stuff that I'm gonna complain about.

So my kids were on spring break the past couple weeks. You know, God forbid they actually have spring break on the same week. Oh no, let's stretch it out into two weeks so I can't have onesinglefreakingminute alone for 18 straight days. The "good mom" side of me was all "Well, that will be fun! I can have one-on-one time with each of them for a whole week!". Every single thing I tried to do with Thing 1 did not amuse him. Lunches out, visiting Dad's office, shopping for dresses for my friend's wedding (Ok, can't blame him there)...all met with "THIS IS BORING." Fortunately for him, the tail end of his spring break was a planned visit to an indoor water park resort. Oh. Joy. Oh and did I mention I didn't get to share the excitement and fun of this trip with his dad? His dad got to stay home with the small, calm child.

The important part is that HE had fun, right? And he really did.

 
(THAT IS A WALL-O-CANDY!)

Me on the other hand? I did not have as much fun. Look. I try not to judge other people's appearances and such. I really do. But...there is something wrong with the general population that visits indoor water parks. I am thinking of submitting a list of rules to this place in the hopes that they will adopt them and post them and enforce them in the future:

RULES:

1. Bikinis are fun! We get it! Bikinis should also be limited to the following: adult women (Nobody wants to see your seven year-old in a thong- this is not Club Med for pedophiles) and adult women who are smaller than...let's say...a size 22. Bikinis should also be worn only if they are not bright white and therefore showing off all your business and large enough to cover your entire ass, not just *most* of your ass. We take coins in the arcade ladies, not in your rear. Cha-ching!

2. If your children are running the halls like a herd of wild elephants at all hours of the night, the grouchy lady in room 14078 reserves the right to beat the ever loving hell out of each and every last one of them until they bleed from every facial opening. (too much?)

3. If you're going to wake up at 4am to reserve your lounge chairs in the waterpark area, it is required that you at least spend 5 minutes of the day with your ass in said chair. Otherwise, you're really just hogging an entire chair for your towel all day when hundreds of people are wandering around like tired zombies looking for somewhere to sit down now aren'tcha?

Oh, I have more, but I think I will stop. Needless to say, by early in the day of day 2, this was me and that was NOT Diet Mountain Dew:



Moving on. This entire weekend was also overshadowed with some major Peyton Manning stress. I mean, major. First of all, I am a VOL. I bleed orange. That automatically makes me a Peyton fan. Secondly, I actually went to school WITH him, which makes me even more attached to him. Thirdly, I'm a Tennessee Titans fan. SO, all this hoopla about him possibly coming back to Tennessee to play for the Titans, in a nutshell, had me in a frenzy. I knew he was going to come back to us. I JUST KNEW IT. OMFG how could he not? We all LOVE him! It would be like the prodigal son returning home to his land and his people will surround him with love and fandom forever and ever and ever AMEN! Yeah sure the other teams can probably offer him much more money and a better team and blah blah blah but who cares? He's PEYTON and this is TENNESSEE and there is no freaking way he can disappoint us after all the love we have given him!

And then I started to get nervous, my thought process started to change.  He should have made his decision by now. If it was Tennessee just tell us! Say to hell with everyone else I wanna go home!! Hmm. They offered him what? Their QB is talking to who? Oh no. Say it ain't so, Peyton. Come on. Just get it over with! If you're going to destroy my hopes and dreams please just do it now. It became like that relationship you're in where you know the other person is going to break up with you, but you really don't want them to so you just wait and hope you're wrong and all the while you're waiting for the bomb to drop and your heart to get stomped on. Yeah, it was like that.

Well. Anyway. It didn't happen. Money talks and 96 million dollars is kind of a lot of money and I guess the chance to knock Tim Tebow off his unworthy throne was too much to pass up. Even for the love of millions of Tennessee fans. I will never be over this. NEVER!

In other news I just made a 30-mile round trip to the liquor store to get wine because Hubs is out of town and I have to take these kids to soccer practice tonight AND a scrimmage game and one good thing about me is that I think ahead in times of need.

Well, this was just the tip of the iceberg and stuff that's over and done with anyway- I will not go into other factors that have me extremely stressed right now (Ok, I'll just mention one- my kid's birthday party which is turning out to be a disaster at every turn and it's on Saturday and I waited til the last minute to do everything and I have no help) but the good news is that I have wine now. Cheers!

paula
Sorry but this is just a boring recipe post. I made something awesome last night and I don't want to forget how I made it. Plus, if you want to make something awesome then you should make this too. Sadly there are no pictures because a) I didn't think it would be blog-worthy while making it and b) once I realized it was, it was all gone because we're pigs. Pigs eating pigs. The kids even ate this one. Miracles abound.

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin Medallions in an Apple, Shallot & White Wine Sauce with Roasted Rosemary Baby Potatoes & BACON

2 plain pork tenderloins (usually comes 2 in a package, don't buy that pre-marinated crap)
2 small tart red apples, I used Jonathan, diced (or one large one)
A couple shallots, (or 1/4 red onion) diced
Fresh rosemary
Thyme
Sage
Kosher salt & pepper
Olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons butter
1-2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup white wine- Real wine, people. Always real wine. Cooking wine should be illegal in all states.
Baby potatoes- I used gold but red are good too. The smaller the better. If they're big, cut them up.
2-3 slices crispy bacon, crumbled

For pork:

In a small bowl mix several stalks of chopped fresh rosemary- should equal about 2 tablespoons- with a tablespoon of dried thyme, a teaspoon of dried sage, half a teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper. (All measurements are guesstimates because I don't measure anything almost ever, sorry.) Trim off excess fat and cut tenderloins into large medallions, about 2 inches thick and then drizzle with a little olive oil. Rub herb mixture on all sides of the pork medallions.

Heat a large saute/frying pan (try to avoid non-stick) on medium high heat. Once pan is VERY hot add a couple tablespoons of olive oil into the pan. Brown the medallions on all sides, but don't cook all the way through. This should only take a minute or two on each side if your pan is hot enough, which it should be. You want to get as much color as possible as fast as possible on the meat, without burning it, of course. You will probably need to do this in two batches, otherwise you'll crowd the pan and they won't get brown enough. If you have finished browning your pork and your pan looks filthy, disgusting, very dark (but not black)-you did it right. This is what you want. THIS is what will flavor your gravy. (and this is why I don't use non-stick pans for dishes like this- no sticky, no flavor!)

Remove pork from pan and add the butter, shallots (or onions) and apples and a little salt and pepper. Saute for a couple minutes until they have picked up a lot of the brown color from the pan drippings. Add flour and stir for another minute or so, then add the wine to create a sauce. Drop the pork back into the pan and cook for 10 minutes or so until the sauce thickens and the pork is cooked all the way through.

For potatoes:

Preheat oven to 425. Coat potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped rosemary. Roast for about 30 minutes or until they're nice and brown. Garnish with chopped crispy bacon.
wanker, valentine
Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down, and I liked to take a minute just sit right there and tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air.

Ok that's not really the story I am going to tell, but this one is almost as good.

This is the story about how I almost divorced my husband of barely three months. See, this happened 12 years ago, so it's funny now and I can write about it and laugh, but at the time nobody was laughing. Well, that's a lie, a lot of people were laughing, but I wasn't one of them and neither was he.

We had just got married, you see. We were living in an ugly little apartment and I had just started my brand-new office job. He had just started working for the restaurant-that-shall-remain-nameless. That means I was working Monday-Friday 8-5 like a good little Administrative Assistant, and he was working bizarro hours that were nothing like mine. Valentine's Day fell on a Monday that year, if I recall.

He was still asleep from working the night before when I when I left for work that morning. And like a hopelessly doe-eyed girl I anticipated a lovely first Valentine's Day with my new husband. (Give me a break, ok? I was barely out of the womb when I got married and I had a lot of expectations about love and relationships and Prince Charmings and all that bullshit.)

Here, I think it will be more effective and less wordy if I just do a little timeline for y'all.

7:15am: Kiss sleeping hubby on the cheek and wish him a Happy Valentine's Day, leaving a card on the kitchen table, anticipating a sweet surprise at some point in the day.

8am-5pm: Watch every woman in the office get called up to reception and bring back gorgeous deliveries from husbands and boyfriends that aren't idiots.

5-5:45pm: Drive home, thinking he must have been BUSY all day preparing something breathtaking. I mean, why else would he not have called or sent me anything? Oh damn, this is going to be GOOD. Those girls at the office only wish their husband's were doing something as thoughtful as mine must have been doing. Something that kept him busy all damn day! I bet I will walk into an apartment filled with rose petals in every color. You just wait and see.

5:45pm: Arrive home to an empty apartment, an empty messy apartment at that. No note. Unmade bed. No gourmet dinner. No flowers. No husband. No nothing.

(You have to remember that this was before the days when everyone had cell phones.)

6pm: Hmm. This is odd. Oh, I bet he's out getting dinner. Or picking up my gift. That has to be it.

6:30pm: Ok, this is getting ridiculous.

7pm: Seriously? Now is about the time I started to panic a little. I have visions of us ending up on Unsolved Mysteries. "Newlywed husband disappears without a trace on Valentine's Day. Grief stricken bride is beside herself with worry." I start making calls. To his work, my mom, etc. Where could he be? This isn't like him. What am I going to wear to his funeral? Something horrible happened. I just know it.

8pm: THAT SON OF A BITCH BETTER HAVE A GOOD REASON FOR DOING THIS TO ME. That or he better be dead. If he's not dead I'm going to kill him.

9pm: Phone rings. I answer in seconds. Conversation goes like this:
Me: HELLO?!?!?
Hubs: You're going to kill me.
Me: OH MY GOD WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU I AM WORRIED SICK WHAT IS GOING ON?
Hubs: Um. Please. Please don't kill me. Honey. You're going to kill me but I need you to come pick me up.
Me: Pick you up? What? Where? What has happened? WHERE ARE YOU?
Hubs: Um. Like. On Mt. Moriah...um...near American Way.
Me: What are you doing out th (THEN RECOGNITION HITS) ...silence..
Me: PLATINUM PLUS? YOU'RE AT PLATINUM PLUS? ARE YOU F-ING KIDDING ME???
 
In case you haven't figured it out- that's a strip club.

Me: <Lots of incoherent screaming and curse words>
Hubs: Honey. Please calm down. Please listen to me. I'm so sorry. It's not my fault. I know you're going to kill me but it's not my fault. Please just come get me and I'll explain. I am stuck here with no ride.
Me: What? Where is your car? I DON'T EVEN CARE. YOU CAN WALK HOME FOR ALL I CARE. I HATE YOU AND I'M NEVER SPEAKING TO YOU AGAIN. (grabbing car keys, of course)
Hubs: Honey. Please? It's SCARY out here. Get in the car and come get me.
Me: FINE. But I am NOT going in that parking lot you can walk somewhere else. Walk across the street to the car dealership, I'll pick you up there!

9:10-9:40pm: Drive to seedy, scary part of town to retrieve my dogassdipshitstupidassmoron husband. Whom I hate. And will never speak to again.

9:40: Arrive at destination. He looks like he's about to cry. I am crying. I got in the passenger seat.

9:40-10:05pm: Listen to his story in between cursing fits. His story went something like this, paraphrased: "Dick* (*names of the not-so-innocent have been changed. Dick* was his brand new boss at brand new job.) called me and said he was taking me to lunch. I met him at work and we took his car. He didn't even tell me we were going there! I swear it! I tried to laugh it off and he promised we were going to be there for less than an hour! Then he wouldn't leave! Before I knew it he went off to the back room with a stripper and left me there and I haven't seen him since! He disappeared for hours. I think he left with her. I didn't know what to do! Finally I knew I had no choice but to call you. I'm an idiot."

10:05pm: Arrive home to a message on the answering machine from Dick*. "Uhhh hey Chip, this is Dick*. Um. I'm real sorry we got separated at um...Red Lobster (or some other benign place, I don't even remember). I looked for you but I couldn't find you. Anyway, I'm home now. I hope you're ok. Um...call me later."

Epilogue:
1. Dick's* wife was 8 months pregnant at the time and I hated him ever since, he was fired shortly thereafter.
2. The next day, he brought me a dozen dead roses from the grocery store because that's all he could find in the city. I threw them at him and cried.
3. It was a long time before I didn't hate him.
4. For the decade+ he worked for this company we couldn't go to any work-function without hearing this story being told. It became a legend. And thus, HE became a legend. The legend of the most stupid thing any husband has ever done on Valentine's Day. Ever.
5. I asked his permission before I told this story to the world.
6. I find it hysterical now, 12 years later.
7. I think I have hated Valentine's Day ever since.

Friday 5- Randoms

paula
I'm here! I'm here! I know, I suck. How many times have I begun an entry this way? Anyway- I'm here, that's all that matters. Right? RIGHT.

I'm still looking into a new place to house my blog but I'm kind of apprehensive to leave here because a) I don't want to lose the few LJ'ers I have left that still bother to read my sporadic posts and b) I don't want to lose (not that they will be gone, but they won't be *with* me anymore) the years worth of stuff I already have here. Le sigh.

A few random things on a Friday:

1. I was just having an E-conversation with a friend regarding two things- 1. I have really sucked at keeping my non-resolution of blogging every day and 2. The difference between people on Facebook and Twitter. It's true. I can't lie. I am leading double lives via social network sites. On Facebook I try to keep my bad language at bay and am as least offensive as possible. All my family is on there, friends that I know barely or are just mere acquaintances with, people who would generally not appreciate the sewer that is my mouth sometimes. So, you know, I am kinda tame there. However- follow me on Twitter at your own risk. I'm not screaming the F word all the time by any means, but I'm much more likely to say what's really on my mind there...whether you like it or not. Plus, the beauty of Twitter is that sure- you can reply to a Tweet, but that pesky "comment" option is not there- generally keeping the peanut gallery's disapproval at bay. I guess my blog here is somewhere in between. I'd actually like to not censor it as much as I do, but I come from a long line of people pleasers and try as I might, I still have it bred in me to not upset anyone and so I've *somewhat* kept this place approved for all audiences. Hmm...maybe I'd write more if I let go of that?

2. VACATION!! Time to plan one. Where should we go? It probably won't be until a year from now but I don't care. I got the go-ahead to plan it, and plan it I shall. I want to go somewhere like

this:



But I'll probably be lucky to end up at a Super 8 in Tampa. Oh well. I can dream. Watch this space for future vacation plan developments. Oh. I'd also like for this one to be a kidless vacation so I'm accepting volunteers for a week-long Whitehousemom's spawn watching adventure. Apply within.

3. My bird is weird. That's him hanging out in a dish of sunflower seeds. Ok then, Pablo. (Note how I said "My bird" MY bird. "Mom. Mom. I want a bird. Let's get a bird. I want to spend my Christmas money on my very own bird. I will love it forever and he will be my best friend. I'm going to name him Captain Bird and he'll sit on my shoulder and I'll feed him raisins." Yeah. That was the day we got the bird. I don't think he's looked at him since. It's ok, Pablo, Mommy loves you.)



and so is my kid's hair. Poor thing.



I tweeted this pic to Chef Anne Burrell saying he won her look-alike contest, but she didn't reply. I guess she wasn't amused.

But seriously. He'd win.



4. Speaking of Ol'CrazyHair up there, he's been a pill lately. And by "pill" I mean "total asshole". I mean. Nothing can please this child. And then all of a sudden he'll be as happy as a lark. Bipolar? Maybe. Or maybe just 2. But he's also had a cold lately so I'm *trying* to give him the benefit of the doubt and blame this attitude on not feeling well, so I've been coddling him, I admit it. Today has been something like this, in his own words:

I refuse to wear pajamas
I refuse to wear a diaper (non-negotiable- I win)
I refuse to wear anything BUT a diaper
I want to ride around the house on my Batman Big Wheel laughing maniacally
This Batman Big Wheel has become tiresome. Get it away from me.
Fine. I agree to wear a shirt
I refuse to wear pants
I refuse to wear *THAT* shirt
And that one
I HATE THIS SHIRT
Fine. I will settle for this slightly less repulsive shirt. But I still don't like it.
I want a snack
Not that snack
Or that one
Or that one
Or that one
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU LADY I SAID I DID NOT WANT SUN CHIPS
I want Sun Chips
I want popcorn
No you may not have the Sun Chips back, I want them both
I want to throw this popcorn at the dog
I want to watch Peppa Pig
I want to watch Peppa Pig
I want to watch Peppa Pig
I want to watch a DIFFERENT Peppa Pig
"snort snort snort"
I want lunch
I don't want lunch
I hate your lunch, I want to throw it across the table
I want my lunch back
I don't want to take a nap
I refuse to take a nap
Can I take a nap now?

The end.

5. I'm going out with my friend tonight and I'm going to have a drink or 4 and I'm going to enjoy it.




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paula
whitehousemom
whitehousemom

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