Soylent Green May Be People, But It’s Good Eatin’

A few months ago I picked up a package of noodles at a market in Bloomington.  Costing only 99 cents, and in a package that is labeled, simply, “Instant Noodle”, these Chinese made starch strings are one of my new favorite foods.  I can’t imagine what would make them as good as they are. I mean, they’re noodles, nothing exotic about that.  Nonetheless, when cooked, they have an awesome chewiness which, with the addition of a few vegetables, and a savory sauce makes for a very quick and yummy lunch.  I jokingly dubbed them “Soylent Green Noodles” because they’re so good, I figure they must have some mysterious secret ingredient.  And if they are made of people, I don’t even care.  Because they’re tasty.  Of course, I don’t really think they’re made of people, but they do come from China, the land of overpopulation and lead toothpaste, so it’s probably possible.

 Over the past several months, I’ve kept a supply of these noodles in the cupboard, picking up new packages as needed.  And last night, while I was in Bloomington, I picked up another package as well as a package for my friend Pat, because you know what they say, “Canniblism loves company.”  Today, I was talking to Mini Me about the Soylent Green Noodles.  She asked, “What’s Soylent Green?” and so I proceeded to explain to her about the movie, and its plot, concluding with my very own impression of Charlton Heston wailing, “Soylent Green is PEOPLE!  It’s PEEEE-PLE!!”  Then I explained that I’d jokingly called them that, with the comment that they’re so daggone good, I don’t care if they are made out of people.

 When I finished, she said, “Oh.  I thought they really were made out of Soylent Green, I just didn’t know what it was.”

 It’s people.  And it’s good eatin’.

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Cloudy with a Chance of Overreaction

I refuse to grocery shop today, and you can’t make me. 

 First of all, it’s not my normal grocery day, and secondly, even if it were I think I’d still put it off because everyone is shopping today.  You see, it’s going to snow, and there is a certain segment of the population who still seems to think that we’re living back in the days of Laura Ingalls. Like in the days before grocery stores, when prairie dwellers’ lives depended on what they stored up for winter. They stock up for a snowfall of 3 to 5 inches like it’s the impending doom of Y2K or something, with bottled water, and enough toilet paper to stretch to the moon and back 6 times.  And like Y2K, the coming “winter storm” will probably not live up to the hype, but even if it does—People, it’s 5 inches of snow, not 5 feet!  Relax–most of you live in town, anyway, so your streets will be cleared in a day or so.

 But like weather-induced lemmings, folks will run off the cliff of sanity straight into the depths of bread and milk hoarding.

 My naturally rebellious nature simply won’t allow me to go there.  I refuse to be swayed by the mass freak-out.  In fact, I triple dog dare the storm to dump enough snow to truly snow me in, if it thinks it can.  And even if it does, that’s okay too.  Why?  Because I’m smart enough to actually keep some extra food on hand at all times.  Genius, isn’t it?  And you know what else?  I even go so far as to keep basic staples on hand, so that if I would happen to get snowed in without bread, I could *make* bread.  (What?! That’s just crazy talk!  I mean, nobody’s actually made bread since back in days of Laura Ingalls, er, hey, wait a minute…)  Time consuming, I know, but we’re talking about being snowed in, so presumably we’re stuck there with nothing to do but bake anyway.

 As much as I doubt that we’re in for the new Blizzard of ’78, I’m going to leave you with a recipe, just in case.  It’s a muffin recipe, which is like kind of a cheater bread, since it requires no yeast or rising.  Who knows, you might even have time to make this without being snowed in.

Mandarin Orange Muffins 

1½  c flour

1 ¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp allspice

¼ tsp nutmeg

²⁄3 c sugar

¹⁄3 c butter, melted

1 egg slightly beaten

¼ c milk

(1) 10 oz can mandarin oranges, drained

Topping

¼ c melted butter

¼ c sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

Sift flour with other dry ingredients.  Combine butter, egg and milk, and add to dry ingredients.  Mix until moistened.  Fold in oranges.  Fill greased muffin tins ¾ full.

 Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Remover from muffins tins and dip tops in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Changes

Mini Me went to school this year. As you may recall, we’ve homeschooled up until now, and it’s been an adjustment, but it was time. She’s done pretty well with school, gotten good grades, survived being called a loser for helping someone else, made some new friends, become known for her graffiti art skills, and narrowly escaped getting in trouble for possession of a Sharpie. She’s got some teachers she loves, and some that she could take or leave, and none that are really bad. However, this grading period has landed her in a health class with a teacher who is a cancer survivor. Mini Me knows this because the teacher has mentioned it in class. Every. single. day.

I know a couple of people like that, too. Thankfully, I’m not trapped in a room with them for an hour 5 days a week. I would be hoarse from singing “la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you” all the time. So, I feel Mini Me’s pain, but it also makes me laugh, because, well, better her than me.

Anywho, so this whole kid-going-to-school thing has left me without a day job, so to speak. Over the holidays I worked a seasonal UPS job (more on that at a later date), and I’ve been doing some freelancing, which is fun. I’d like to do some more of that kind of thing, and the way to get better at writing, and also to keep the flow going, is to keep writing. So, my goal is to write every day. At least every week day. That won’t always mean I’ll write here, but it will probably increase the frequency of my posts, which, let’s face it, have been pretty darned infrequent over the past few months. Of course, some of that is because I don’t have any funny cancer stories to tell since I’m not very cancery these days, and The Foob has gone to Florida for the winter with all of the other snowbirds. I can only get so much mileage out of those quarterly doctor appointments with Dr Birhiray.

That leaves me with a few options for this blog. I could write about whatever strikes me as funny in regular, non-cancer life. Or I could write about food. We all know I love that. I could write deep, inspirational posts. Okay, yeah, that’s probably going to happen, with the frequency of a leap year or something. I could just retire, but I do enjoy the blog, and my readers so I don’t really want to do that. And as I said, I think I need the exercise anyway.

What say you, my readers? Any of the above? A combination? Please let me know.

Pink Ribbon Overload: Marketing Ploy? What Makes You Say That?

IMG_0194Have you ever noticed that most pink ribbon products are geared toward women? Okay, our last entry was an obvious exception. But really, have you ever seen manly pink ribbon products? Maybe it’s just that the whole pepto pink thing doesn’t really convey the manliness that, say Craftsman is looking for in its marketing. About the closest thing I’ve seen to a pink ribbon man product are the NFL’s breast cancer awareness games this month, where we get to see big, burly football men wearing pink football accessories.  Which is kinda cool.IMG_0195

But back to the lack of pink ribbon man products.  Their conspicuous absence is probably why I have a hard time believing that most pink ribbon products are anything more than marketing. It wouldn’t really be worth it to Valvoline to go to the trouble of having pink boxes made, because the fact of the matter is, men don’t give a fat crap about breast cancer. No, really. Unless they have a loved one who’s been affected by it, or in the rare case that they have it themselves, they really don’t care.  And since some guys are just insecure enough to actually feel threatened by a pink ribbon on their razor blade package, it might cause the company to actually lose sales.  Hence why you don’t see pink ribbons plastered all over boxes of shotgun shells and cans of Skoal.  (Okay, yes, some women do use motor oil, shotgun shells, and Skoal, especially in Kentucky.  However, I doubt those are the kind of women who are going to base their buying decisions on a cutesy pink package anyway.  Just sayin’.)photo

DSC03656On the other hand, there is just a ridiculous amount of pink ribbon stuff that falls into categories that women traditionally buy, such as the pink ribbon Huggies and dishwasher soap submitted by our friend Ashlee.

Taste buds dead from chemo?  Then you’ll love the pink ribbon Hamburger Helper I found at Kmart.  And isn’t it great how it’s got that little hand mascot to remind us to do our monthly exams? 

Or if you’re a foodie like me, perhaps you’d enjoy cooking a meal from scratch using this bunch of breast cancer fungi. Our friend Tanya writes, “What’s for dinner, you ask? Why apricot chicken with mushroom cancer, um, I mean cream sauce.” 

Mmmmm!

 

Josh Bell Loves Pete’s Pride Pink Ribbon Pork Fritters

Okay, not really.  I mean, Josh would probably like them, but there is no such thing.  Dang it.  Pete’s Pride is totally missing out on some mad marketing AND alliteration opportunities.

As you guys surely know by now, I’m a big nerd who gets a whole lot of amusement out of perusing the search engine terms people have used to find this blog.  Some things are to be expected, especially since we’re nearing October, like the current top three for the past 30 days: “pink ribbon cake pan”, “pink ribbon cake”, and “pink ribbon”.  But the 4th item on the list is a little puzzling to me—Richard Simmons.  Really?  Is October Richard Simmons Awareness Month, too?  Wonder what color the ribbon is for that one.  Is sequined a color?  Richard Simmons beat out the perpetual favorite “bald girlfriend” (I’m pretty sure that I really, really don’t want to know the motivation behind that one) and the believe it or not “pork fritter” is way down the list at number 8.  Pork fritter fans need not worry, however, because in the all time search engine term standings, the humble pork fritter holds 3 of the top 5 slots.

And speaking of pork fritter fans…if you’ve been keeping up on the comments, you know that our friend Nanine is a transplanted Hoosier, living in Texas, who has been searching for Pete’s Pride Pork Fritters to no avail.  Of course, since we ARE pretty high on the google results, she ended up here, and asked if I knew who makes Pete’s Pride.  I didn’t, but I do now.  I don’t know why I was even at all surprised to learn that Pete’s Pride Pork Fritters are manufactured by Al Pete Meats (recently acquired by Monogram Foods) in none other than Muncie, Indiana.   Why of course they are!  Where else?  So, Nanine, I hope this helps you in your quest.  Keep us posted—we love having an excuse to write about pork fritters. (We also love referring to ourselves in the first person plural.)

Now back to those searches.  It gives me a chuckle every time someone gets here from googling “Josh Bell poet” or some other variation.  If you recall, my old friend Josh has the distinct misfortune of sharing his name with another extremely famous Josh from Indiana.  Hence, folks looking for my friend must include poetry/poem/poet in their search.  However, like other violin-toting super villains, the fantastically famous Joshua Bell will stop at nothing in his quest to squash my dear Josh like a bug—going so far as to title one of his albums “Poeme”.  Really, can there be any other explanation for this?  So, it was especially amusing to me when some obviously determined fan of my Josh recently got here by searching “josh bell poetry or poem or poet not violinist”.   Take that, you fancy fiddler.

This weekend is the local Race for the Cure.  Yes, I’m going.  No, I’m probably not doing the survivor parade.  Wearing the pink shirt is about as much as you can expect from me.  And Thursday is the first day of October, so get those Pink Ribbon Overload pictures to me.  I’ll be starting off the month with one of my own finds and the story of how it came into my possession.  That’s right, I actually own this one, but even that’s not the whole story, so check back with me on Thursday afternoon to get the scoop.

Zumba vs. Chocolate Cake

I’ve been doing Zumba.  Much to Mini Me’s dismay, this has resulted in me gyrating at random intervals throughout the day.  I’ve always been a dancer.  Not in the coordinated, classically trained ballet dancer type of way.  Not in the Fame–I’m gonna live forever kind of way.  More like, in the shake your booty like you think you don’t dance like a white girl sort of way.  Only now it’s worse, because in addition to my old school 1980’s dance moves (think Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Aire at best and Bruce Springstein at worst) I have now added my Zumba moves including, but not limited to: gyrating, lassoing, Charro-style booty shakin’, and this strange tippy-toe mambo thing that is just fabulously fun when used while pushing a shopping cart.

 Oh yeah.  Because when I say at random intervals throughout the day, what I mean is at home, at the grocery store, at church, at a yard sale, in Susie’s pool, or any other place that I might hear music.  Or not.  Don’t really even need music.  Just having someone ask about Zumba is enough.  Or mention Dirty Dancing.  (Nobody puts Moody in a corner, heh heh.) 

 While it IS fun, the goal with this Zumba thing is to get in shape.  It’s supposed to burn, like, 400,000 calories in an hour or something, which is almost enough to counteract The Great Chocolate Cake Disaster of Last Week.  Because, friends, Moody has no will power.  None.  And so she usually tries to keep the danger items out of the house.  Things like Hostess Orange Cupcakes, that I like in spite of myself.  Things like really good bread.  Any form of chocolate.  When Mini Me asked, “Mom, can I make a chocolate cake?” I should have known that no good could come from saying “Sure.” 

 So, she made the cake.  A whole 9 x 13 inch pan of it.  And frosting, too.  And we ate some.  Then Hubster came home and hated on the cake, “I don’t like chocolate cake” he said.  Looks like it’s just Mini Me and I tackling this thing.  Again, no good can come from this. Mini Me and I ate some more cake after supper.  The next day, we had cake for breakfast.  Cake with lunch.  Cake as a snack.  Cake after dinner.  The following morning, Mini Me ate the last piece of chocolate cake for breakfast, proclaiming to me that she’d done it to save me from eating any more of it.  I am blessed to have such a selfless child, am I not?

 One cake.  Two people. Approximately 36 hours.  Did I mention that no good could come from letting her make a chocolate cake?

 As you can see, eating sensibly is just not how I roll.  Oh, I do alright most of the time.  In fact, I really probably eat better than most folks.  But man, when I fall off the wagon, I not only fall off, buddy I hit the ground running in the opposite direction, my chocolate smeared face contorted by maniacal laughter.  Anybody remember Mike Myers’ Hyper Hypo character?  That’s me. 

 So, if a girl like me wants to lose some weight, exercise in some form is a must.  Preferably something that I don’t totally hate.  Because I’m pretty good at avoiding things that I hate.  But Zumba has been great because it’s actually fun.  I’ve been doing it 2 times a week for about 4 weeks now, and the instructor is doing monthly weighings & measurings, so next week I’ll be able to let you know if all that booty shakin’ has been enough to counteract The Great Chocolate Cake Disaster.  Stay tuned.

Breath Cancer

As you guys know, I like to keep tabs on the Google search engine terms that land people on my blog.  It’s not that I’m all about the marketing or anything like that.  I’m not sitting around trying to figure out what keywords to use in order to generate the maximum amount of traffic.  Although, I do get immense pleasure out of being high up on the search results for Pete’s Pride Pork Fritters, and have been known to work a pork fritter reference randomly into just about any post.  This serves a dual purpose, by both bolstering my Pete’s Pride position on Google, and allowing an atrocious amount of alliteration.  Heh heh.  I am nothing if not and incorrigible word nerd.  But at least as amusing to me as the Pete’s Pride Pork Fritter thing, (score!  I just snuck in another one!) are some of the bizarre phrases that people Google in order to end up here. 

 Included on the list of recent searches was one for “breath cancer black rollerskates”.  Breath.  Cancer.  Now I’m not sure if this was merely a typo, or perhaps this person has a speech impediment.  I figure, I write like I talk, so why shouldn’t they, right?  Ah, but I suppose in that case they would have searched for “breath canther black roller thkates”.  So, okay, maybe that’s not what was going on with this one.  Maybe they really were searching for breath cancer roller skates (in black, please, because if breath cancer could be seen, it would most certainly be black or at least very very dark green).

 I’ve never heard of breath cancer before, but I’m by no means an expert on such things.  And, if it exists, why it sure would explain the halitosis some folks have.  Oh, snap, do you think my dog has breath cancer?  I bet there’s a special day for that, too.  National Canine Breath Cancer Survivors Day—a holiday that’s as much for those of us who have survived an encounter with our dog’s breath, as it is for the furry survivors themselves. You know, I seem to remember seeing breast cancer awareness kitty litter—how ironic would it be if that were Canine Breath Cancer awareness kitty litter?  Huh? That’d be a whole lot like lung cancer awareness Marlboros.  Maybe that’s why I’ve never seen it.