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.

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.

Candy is Dandy (or Why It’s Not a Good Idea to Stop at the Tourist Trap Candy Store When You’re Hungry)

munger moss

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the fam and I went on a little weekend trip to southern Missouri. No, not Branson. I read your mind, didn’t I? Okay, not really, it’s just that pretty much every person I mentioned our trip to asked if we were going to Branson. Branson isn’t really an option for us, because Hubster breaks out in hives whenever he’s subjected to country music. I’m pretty certain the man would explode if we were to even drive through Branson. And, really, if I’m gonna go to Pigeon Forge, I’ll go to Pigeon Forge, not to Pigeon Forge’s Ozark cousin.

The real reason we went to Missouri was to check out the spring planting festival at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Yeah, we’re plant nerds like that. In spite of the fact that we got drizzled on all day Sunday, the festival was a good time. Got to hear lots of live bluegrass, and cowboy music, including Sourdough Slim the accordion playing cowboy. And we picked up some interesting varieties of tomato and pepper plants. I also got a very cool African basket.

About 3:00 or so, we decided to head back to our motel in Lebanon—the very cool Munger Moss Motel located on Route 66. Did it have fancy amenities like internet? Heck no. But what it did have was a very interesting mix of folks staying there—including the Harley Riders from Finland. Awesome. But Lebanon is a pretty small place, so there wasn’t much going on Sunday night, and we decided to head over to Springfield. After an evening of Bass Pro Shop and Buckingham’s Barbecue, we went back for our final night at the Munger Moss.

The next morning, we checked out and did some hiking in Bennett Spring State Park. After a quick clean-up and change of clothing, we headed for home. It was about 1:00 and we were getting pretty hungry. When we reached I-44, there it was, like a beacon of love, and rainbows, and sugar, and tooth decay, and empty wallets—Redmons Candy Factory.

Taffy. Oh man, this place had more flavors of taffy than I have ever seen. And in spite of the fact that as a mother, I’m supposed to encourage the consumption of healthful foods ahead of the consumption of sticky, sugary goodness, I totally blew off that whole responsible adult gig. So as Hubster carried around a white paper sack, picking and choosing a few pieces here and there, Mini Me and I ransacked the joint, grabbing handfuls of various flavors and throwing them in the sack. “Mmmm! Cinnamon roll taffy! Ooh look, lemon meringue taffy!”

Somewhere in the back of my mind, a little flicker of June Cleaver managed to escape the duct tape she’d been wrapped in and push its way to somewhere near the front of my mind. “You haven’t had lunch!” it protested, “And what about Mini Me’s braces? Is she supposed to even have taffy?” However, I quickly squashed June’s rebellion by pointing out that the pomegranate taffy was almost like a fruit—so it was perfectly healthy, and…hey, pecan logs! Poor June was left struggling against her duct tape somewhere along the dusty trail between good sense and sugar overload, and I was on my merry way to pecan log bliss.

Oh sure, I saw the sign that said the bulk candy was $3.49/lb. But, since Hubster was holding the bags—oh, yes, eventually there were two, because the other side of the store had hard candy—I didn’t even think about how much we’d accumulated. I figured than when it started getting heavy enough to be expensive, he’d shut us down. Because, whether he realizes it or not, that is one of his primary functions in our marriage—to keep me from going over the top stupid all the time. There was only one problem—Hubster hadn’t seen the signs. So, he was a little shocked when after adding in a couple of white chocolate turtles and a few mints, our bill came to over $30.

Oops. I guess maybe it was a bad idea to go there hungry.

(Oh, and if you’d like to read Mini Me’s account of our trip, you can checkit out HERE)

Cookin’ Like Crazy

 This past week was a tad insane around here, but it was the good kind of insane where I got to make lots of yummy food for folks.  Not the bad kind of insane where I used a breast cancer bagel to beat the living daylights out of an entire table full of gum-smacking, loud-talking, OMG-saying girls at Panera.  Nope, that was the week before.  

Anywho, last week saw the convergence of three separate events in the span of two days.  Thursday was the surprise party for Bagel Sis who was doing the mini marathon up in Indy on Saturday.  Much to my amazement, BIL Bobo and I managed to pull this off without tipping off Bagel Sis.  This is particularly impressive considering that I spent several hours with Bagel Sis on Monday and without saying something stupid like, “Hey, do you know if Garlic Sis is going to be able to make it to your surprise party on Thursday night?”

 Prior to Thursday, I’d already spent the first part of the week cooking items for the Domestic Divas ladies event at church.  Divas was scheduled for Saturday, but since the fam and I were leaving town on Saturday, I wouldn’t actually be there.  All of my eleventy-seven platters and cake stands would be, however, and they’d need to be set up Friday night.  But, they couldn’t be set up until after the Vigo County Relay for Life survivor dessert, which ran until 8PM.  Oh yeah, I made a couple of cheesecakes for that, too.  See what I mean by insane? 

 But it was good, really.  I enjoyed the whirlwind immensely.  Because one of the hardest things about the whole cancer experience for me was all of a sudden having people not ask me to do things I loved anymore.  Granted, when I was doing chemo, I wouldn’t have been able to manage all this stuff in a weekend.  But the problem is that once people stop asking, they forget to ask again.  I know you’ve all heard me say (okay, maybe that should be “seen me write” but it just sounds weird) that from my experience, what a cancer girl craves most of a big slice of normal.  Well, it’s not normal for me to sit on the sidelines when food is involved, so the past two years or so have been difficult in that regard.

 So, Friday night was the survivor dessert, and I think I’ve finally figured out how I can participate in this type of thing without feeling weird about it–do what I love.  This time last year I posted an entry about the Relay for Life, where I talked about how the survivor activities just suck the very life out of me.  But Friday, I got to be a part of it by doing what I do best.  Now that’s MY kind of survivor activity. 

 Funny thing was, when I went to tear it down at 8PM sharp—because remember, I still need to drag all this stuff over to church and get it washed and set up there—I swear I was getting this entitlement vibe from the few survivors that were still hanging around.  Like, “I’m gonna stand here in front of this chocolate fountain as long as I want, until the cows come home, in fact, because I’M a survivor!”  I told my friend Dawn, who works for the ACS and is kind of in charge of this deal that next year I think I’ll wear one of my pink Komen shirts or maybe just go topless.  You know, whichever one she thought would be more effective of getting the message across, “Hey, I’m a survivor, too, so get your badonkadonk out of the way so I can get out of here before that creepy luminaria ceremony!”

Comfortably Numb with a Side of Cheese Fries

Although The Noob fills out the bra and at least appears pretty normal while camouflaged by clothing, the fact remains that it is not an actual boob.  One of the primary reminders of this—other than the weird contortion thing it does when I lift weights, implant being under the muscle and all—is the fact that it has no feeling. 

 Now you might think that, having owned a set of boobs for a good many years, I wouldn’t need to actually feel danger in order to keep my boobs out of trouble.  However, since having The Noob, I’ve discovered that apparently having nerves that work is what kept my boobs safe and intact for so long.  For example, I’ll often find myself holding something in my hand, only to discover that it’s also resting on my boob.  This happened just last night.  As I stood there holding a ginormous vanilla Coke, and chatting with a couple of friends, I suddenly realized that my cup was meeting some resistance.  That resistance was The Noob, which was just hanging out minding it’s own numb business.  Oddly enough, I don’t ever recall this happening on the boob side, or for that matter ever happening when I had two boobs.  I moved my Coke away from The Noob, only to feel the same resistance again a minute later. 

 So I’m thinking, perhaps there are some things that I just should not be allowed to hold in my hand anymore.  Especially not when being distracted by conversation.  The big Coke cup was relatively harmless, but you know, the same cannot be said for things like an ice cream cone.  Granted, this is probably not going to be an actual danger, but it won’t look real cool to have a big smear of DQ crunch on The Noob.  Not to mention that it would be a waste of crunch. 

 Or a torch.  You know, the old school, explore the catacombs type.  Not that I’m often carrying  torch, but I’m just sayin’.  Bad idea.  Especially if silicone is flammable.  Wouldn’t want to spontaneously combust. (buh dump bump)  And maybe I should not attempt to use a Sharpie.  Although I did have to write on my boobs prior to surgery, and I did discover that Mr Clean Magic Eraser will remove surgical marker from skin—-I think I should leave the permanent markers alone.  I have a bad enough track record ruining things I can actually feel.

 An ice pick, hatchet, and a set of Ginsu knives are all off limits, as is the sharp edge of the can that the Ginsu knife just cut in half.  I’m thinking I may also want to avoid other sources of open flame, boiling pots of water, cans of paint, big plates of cheese fries, Kung Pao Chicken, or anything else that I might accidentally dunk The Noob into. 

 Surely I’m not the only reconstructed cancer girl who has had this type of experience.  Anyone care to share their numb noob stories?