Tag Archives: food

Say Aaah!

24 Jun

Speaking of filler posts in order to bide myself more time in creating original blog posts, here’s another edition of Say Aaah! where I showcase awesomely delicious meals that Mr. Mondoo and I create and devour.  In case you have forgotten, I used my pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted.  Now, I’m using new baby sleep and time deprivation as an excuse for NOT dieting like I promised I would and instead feasting on meals like Long Boy Cheeseburgers and Crispy Bacon-Cheddar Potato Skins.  The two good things about this:  1)  I got to eat everything in the following picture.  2)  I get to share them with you!

Long Boy Cheeseburgers (Serves 4)

Never heard of a Long Boy Burger?  Me either.  Apparently (so says the preceding article in Cook’s Country Magazine where this recipe was retrieved) this sandwich was the 1960s promotional brainchild of Kellogg’s and Sego/Pet evaporated milk companies.  It’s one part cheeseburger, one part meatloaf, and one part amazingness.

Ingredients:

2 (6-inch) sub rolls split in half lengthwise
1-1/4 cups cornflakes, crushed
1/2 small onion, minced
1/3 cup whole or lowfat milk
6 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
1-1/2 pounds 90 percent lean ground beef
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
1. Toast Rolls – Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Bake rolls, cut side up, on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.

2. Make Meat Mix – Combine cornflakes, onion, milk, 4 tablespoons ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, garlic powder, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Add meat and knead gently until well combined.

3. Bake Burgers – Top toasted rolls evenly with meat mixture, spreading meat to edges of rolls. Brush top of meat mixture evenly with remaining ketchup and bake until meat registers 160 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes. Top burgers with cheese and continue to bake until cheese melts, 3 to 4 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes and serve.

(Source:  Cook’s Country Magazine February/March 2010)

Crispy Bacon-Cheddar Potato Skins (Makes 8-16 skins*)

Ingredients:

4 russet potatoes, scrubbed

6 slices bacon, chopped

salt and pepper

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions:

1.  Microwave Potatoes: Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees.  Set rimmed baking sheet inside oven.  Prick potatoes all over with fork, place on paper towel, and microwave until tender, 10 to 15 minutes, turning potatoes over after 5 minutes.

2.  Fry Bacon: Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes.  Reserve 2 teaspoons bacon fat, then transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate.  Blot bacon with paper towels to remove grease.

3.  Crisp Skins: (*Note:  the recipe says to quarter the potatoes.  Mondoos recommend just cutting them in half for ease of adding the filling later on).  Quarter potatoes lengthwise, let cool 5 minutes and then scoop out most of the flesh, leaving 1/4 inch layer of potato flesh.  Brush exterior of potatoes with reserved bacon fat and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer potatoes, skin-side down, to preheated baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp, 15-20 minutes.

4.  Fill Skins: Combine cheeses, cornstarch, half of bacon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl.  Remove potato shells from oven and top with cheese mixture.  Return to oven and bake until cheese melts, 2 to 4 minutes.  Transfer skins to paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with remaining bacon.  Serve (preferably with scallions and sour cream-yum).

(Source:  Cook’s Country Magazine February/March 2009)

Say Aaah!

19 May

I know what you’re thinking:  “What’s so special about BBQ chicken pizza?”  Well, this particular recipe has so many different but complimentary flavors going on, it’s pretty easy to get excited about it.  Plus, the freshness of the cilantro/sour cream/lime juice sauce make it especially summery, which is perfect during this time of year.  I love associating the food that I’m eating with the time of year (pork chops with spiced apples = fall, soups/stews = winter, corn-on-the-cob (oooo can’t wait!) = summer).  As usual, if you decide to try this recipe out, let me know how it turns out!  Unless you hate it, then keep your comments to yourself.  No one likes a hater.

First, some of Mondoo’s notes about the recipe, because you know I love to give my opinion on things, warranted or not:

Recipe Notes:

– A tip that I read somewhere about rising dough:  Take some olive oil and dab some onto a paper towel and rub onto the inside of a large mixing bowl.  Then place the dough inside to rise.  The olive oil prevents the dough from sticking to the bowl while it’s rising.

–  The recipe suggests using store bought pizza dough from the refrigerated section.  Some pizza places will let you buy raw dough, so consider that, too.  We prefer to make our own dough.  Here’s the recipe that we use for many of our pizza creations:  Mitch’s Basic Pizza Dough (makes enough dough for two pizzas).

–  The recipe also suggests using a ready-to-go rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  We did that this time.  It makes the whole dinner process super easy but it’s not necessary.  You could easily grill up some chicken breasts and use them instead.  We’ve done that before.

– The recipe further suggests that you bake this pizza in the oven.  You can also bake it on the grill.  Gives it a nice “brick oven fired” feeling.  Plus, Mr. Mondoo loves to fire up the grill for whatever reason, even a pizza.

– You can use your favorite BBQ sauce for this recipe but we like to make our own (how pretentious, right?)  Here’s the recipe for the basic pantry BBQ sauce that we use specifically for this pizza:

Pantry Barbecue Sauce (makes about 2 cups)

1 ½ cups ketchup

½ cup molasses

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons hot sauce

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

Salt and pepper

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.  The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days.

(Source: Best Grilling Recipes)

Now, the actual pizza recipe:

BBQ Chicken Pizza Recipe (apparently it serves 4 but in our case, it served a nine-month pregnant woman and her big husband a total of 8 pieces)

Ingredients:

1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded, meat shredded into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)

½ cup barbecue sauce

¼ cup finely chopped cilantro

½ red onion, sliced thin

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 (1 pound) ball pizza dough

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

½ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons lime juice

Directions:

1)  Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees.  Combine chicken, barbecue sauce, and 2 tablespoons cilantro in a medium bowl.  Toss onion, 1 tablespoon oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in small bowl.

2)  Brush additional 2 tablespoons oil all over rimmed baking sheet.  On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 16-by-9 oval (about ¼ inch thick) and transfer to prepared baking sheet.  Brush dough with remaining oil and bake until dough begins to brown and bubble, about 6 minutes.

3)  Scatter chicken mixture over dough and top with onion mixture.  Bake until onions begin to brown, about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle cheese over pizza and bake until melted, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to cutting board.  Whisk sour cream, lime juice, and remaining cilantro in small bowl, then drizzle over pizza.  Slice and serve, passing sauce at table.

(Source:  Cook’s Country Magazine June/July 2009)

Say Aaah!

11 May

The topic of food used to dominate this blog, now all I seemingly talk about is my pregnancy and writer’s block, sorry about that.  Well, my good friend Kristina gave me the idea to start these recurring posts about the different kinds of food that Mr. Mondoo and I make.  It’s really a great idea.  We like to cook, try different kinds of foods, and then brag about how awesome they turn out.  Sounds like a blog post to me!

So, let’s get started on this first “Say Aaah!” post, shall we?  I know that these posts won’t hold the same amount of sarcasm and wit but some of you may enjoy the recipes and the “food porn” pictures.  Oh and I don’t promise that any of these recipes will be healthy or easy to make.  They may be, but more often than not, they are just going to be simply delicious.  So, try ’em out!

This past weekend, the Mondoo’s celebrated both Mother’s Day and my birthday.  At nine months pregnant, all I really wanted for these special days was good food, and by George, that’s what I got!  Baby brain prevented me from taking pictures of all of the wonderful food that was made in our house this past weekend so I’ll just focus on the dessert (which we still have plenty of, fortunately for me!)

Tres Leche Cake

According to Wikipedia, tres leche cake is a “sponge cake—in some recipes, a butter cake—soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. When butter is not used, the tres leches is a very light cake, with many air bubbles. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk.”

Mr. Mondoo and I were introduced to tres leche cake by Alton Brown via The Food Network on his  Good Eats episode “Milk Made.”  Sure, Alton Brown is a little fussy when it comes to exact measurements (he uses weight, kind of a pain) but the man makes a great cake.  Don’t believe me?   Try it out for yourself!

A couple of notes:

– Although it needs to be made a day in advance so that the cake has time to absorb the milk, it’s worth the wait.

– This is also a perfect cake for the upcoming summer months as it is kept and served cold.

– Some of you may be reluctant to make this cake because of an intolerance to lactose.  My advice?   Take a Lactaid and get to eating.

– Although I’ve made this cake a few times before, it is important to note that Mr.  Mondoo made it this time.  One helluva guy!

– If you decide to take my advice and make this fabulous cake (or any recipes that appear in future “Say Aaah!” posts), please leave a comment and let me know how they turned out!

Tres Leche Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

For the cake:

Vegetable oil

6 3/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pan

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

8 ounces sugar

5 whole eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze:

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup half-and-half

For the topping:

2 cups heavy cream

8 ounces sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

The cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a 13 by 9-inch metal pan and set aside.

Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and with the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar over 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix to thoroughly combine. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches and mix just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. This will appear to be a very small amount of batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Remove the cake pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork. Allow the cake to cool completely and then prepare the glaze.

The glaze:

Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and the half-and-half in a 1-quart measuring cup. Once combined, pour the glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake overnight.

The topping:

Place the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk together on high until stiff peaks are formed. Change to medium speed and whisk until thick. Spread the topping over the cake and allow to chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

(Recipe Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/tres-leche-cake-recipe/index.html)

Love/Hate: Being Pregnant

23 Apr

Oh hey!  Remember me?  I used to write a blog and then I got really pregnant and apparently developed an even more severe case of baby brain (for more on baby brain, see below) and didn’t post at all this week?  So, what better week to actually write a Love/Hate post… no wait… I mean, what better week to write about how much I love and hate being pregnant.  Oh and guess what?  I don’t really hate being pregnant.  I’m very blessed and thankful to have had such a wonderful pregnancy and I’m so looking forward to meeting my daughter sometime within the next four weeks.  But cereally, I’m not one of those women who just LOVES being pregnant.  It has its magical moments but it’s not completely magical, trust me, or rather, just read.

Love:

1)  Baby kicks.  Remember when I said pregnancy has its magical moments?  Me neither.  Baby brain.  But yes, baby kicks are magical.  Super creepy, yes.  I mean, there is a certain creep-factor to a living thing moving inside of you, all Alien-style.  BUT, really, feeling your baby grow and move inside of you is a powerful thing.  The kicks don’t bother me either, even at night when I’m trying to get some sleep because I know if she’s moving, she’s happy and healthy and just trying to get comfortable.   Sorry things are so cramped in there, Baby.  But honestly, you’re not making things too comfortable for me either so we’ll just both have to deal for a few more weeks.

2)  Presents.  Ok, the presents aren’t really for me.  But they come addressed to me.  And I get to open them.  So, they’re kinda like presents for me.  I love presents.  I also love that so many people bought/are still buying (Thanks Grandmas and Aunts!) Baby clothes that I will never have to buy her clothes, like, ever.  Mr.  Mondoo, now, he actually buys ME presents.  And they are all edible.  He’s the best.  I’ve mentioned the Valentine’s Day potato chips, but since he has also treated me to a bag of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos and chocolate covered strawberries.  I’m totally in love with that man.

3)  Things get bigger.  I’ve never been well-endowed in the chest area.  Buttocks, oh yes, but unfortunately, no chesticles to speak of.  Without being too graphic, let me illustrate my flat-chestedness by relating a traumatic story from my middle school years.  In seventh grade, the high school musical needed youngin’s to portray the little boys band in their production of The Music Man.  I, along with my trumpet (yes, I played the trumpet) tried out and I made it!  SCORE!  Little ol’ me in the high school musical!  I was so jazzed.  Until a mean boy in Band told me that the only reason I was chosen was because I was so flat-chested and could easily portray a boy as long as I was wearing a hat.  Well, mean band boy, I have boobs now, sucka!  I hope they decide to stick around.

4)  The food.  I love the cravings.  I love eating what I want.  I love that being pregnant gives me an excuse to eat all day long.  If you love food, get pregnant, I’m telling you.   One thing that disappointed me (and Mr. Mondoo) was my lack of crazy cravings.  Sure, I have cravings but they are all things that I liked to eat prior to the pregnancy.  Now I just can’t get enough of them.  Some examples:  fruit, veggies, pickles, French fries (with TONS of ketchup), Asian food, donuts, ice cream, to name a few.  At least I’m not one of those crazy pregnant women who crave things like dirt or soap.

5)  Oh yeah, Baby!  How can I talk about being pregnant and not talk about Baby?!  In four (or less!) weeks, I will have a daughter.  And she will be adorable.  Mr. Mondoo and I have already fallen in love with her.  I can’t even imagine what it will be like to actually meet her!  But really, if you asked me the thing that I loved MOST about being pregnant, it’s that at the end, after all the pain, discomfort, and everything listed below, I get the best present of all.  Baby, in the flesh.

Hate:

1)  Things are uncomfortable.  Sitting, standing, the process of going from sitting to standing and vice versa, bending over (is it even possible anymore?!), rolling over in bed, sleeping, carrying… anything, things are uncomfortable.  “Weebles may wobble but they don’t fall down.”  I don’t think the same is true with pregnant ladies.

2)  Moms.  Aside from my girl Kristina (Holla!) and my two, young mom cousins (who all are realistic yet positive and really encouraging), encountering other moms while you’re pregnant is the absolute worst.  First of all, they love to tell you their (or others) horrible birthing stories.  Oh yes, that’s exactly what I want to hear, how horrible labor will be.  That’s helpful.  As if TV and the movies haven’t done a good enough job scaring me.  Second, they also love to tell you how horrible motherhood is—the lack of sleep, the million wardrobe changes you need to make daily (for both you and baby), the crying, how I’ll want to turn her over to her dad the moment he walks in the door, the lack of time with your spouse, etc.—you name it.  No matter how excited or happy you are about impending motherhood, they love nothing more than bringing you down, Debbie Downer-style. Well, the jig is up, Moms!  The instructor at my childbirth class said that Moms love to do this because Moms are the ultimate martyr.  Their labor was horrible, raising their children was horrible, and no matter your experience, theirs will always trump yours.  They call it pride, I call it mean.  Keep it to yourself, Debbie.

3)  Things get bigger.  Yeah, my boobs are bigger but so is my ass.  And that was big to begin with.  Pregnancy FAIL.   I know what you’re thinking:  “Mondoo, if you’re concerned about getting bigger, maybe you shouldn’t eat so many donuts or Doritos.”  Who are you?  My doctor who hates carbs?  Well,  to date, I’ve only gained 28 pounds.  That’s not too bad and actually completely normal and healthy (you hear that, Doc?!)   Unfortunately, aside from my giant baby belly, the other pounds have decided to reside on my ass.

4)  Seeing other pregnant women.  Man, there are so many pregnant women out there and each time I see one, I get upset.  Why, you ask?  Well, first of all, I’m selfish.  As far as I’m concerned, I’m the only woman in the world who has been pregnant.  This condition is special only to me.  But when I see another pregnant woman, it reminds me that I’m not special.  No.  Hahaha.  But really, the reason that I hate seeing pregnant ladies out and about is that it constantly reminds me that May is a big delivery month and space will be limited at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital at which I’ll be delivering.  That means that I’m destined to share a room with someone.  I’m a millennialWe don’t like to share.

5)  Baby brainBaby brain affects me so much that I almost forgot to include it in this list.  I’m serious.  AHHH!  I used to be so on-the-ball with things and now I’m lucky if I can see a project through to the end.  But then again, Baby is an awesome excuse not to do things that I don’t want to do.  Clean the house?  Pregnant, too tired.  Travel home for Easter?  Too much for the pregnant lady.  Leave a boring community event?  Pregnant, been on my feet too long.  Write this blog?  Pregnant, baby brain.  Oh wait, that last one is true, I swear!

Love/Hate: The Grocery Store

2 Apr

Another Friday, another opportunity for me to both love and hate something.  Each week when I trek to the grocery store, I honestly can’t help but love and hate it for the following reasons, read on.  Do it.  Why?  Because I say so!

Love:

1)  The Olive Bar.  I used to hate olives.  Actually, I still hate most olives (kalamatas all the way!) but I LOVE the olive bar at the local grocery store, mainly because it’s way more than olives—sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto and feta stuffed banana peppers, hummus, to name a few—and it’s an awesome place in the grocery store where pregnant ladies can sample items before they buy them (or not buy them.  That’s also called stealing.  I call it a snack.  What?  I’m hungry).

2)  Wine and Beer.  Growing up in Pennsylvania, if you wanted beer, liquor, or wine, you had to go to the liquor store, six-pack shop, or the beer distributor.  Not in other states.  You can get your milk, bread, and beer all at the grocery store.  It’s amazing.  And convenient.  And I love it.

3)  Reusable bags.  Yeah, yeah, I love the environment but you know what I love even more?  Not having thousands of plastic bags in my house.  Sure, Mr. Mondoo likes to use them as garbage bags in the smaller trashcans but we don’t produce nearly enough garbage in those little cans to EVER use the plastic grocery bags that can be accumulated with the amount of food that we buy.  I love my reusable bags for this reason and for the reason that I suspect when people see me using my reusable bags, they think to themselves “Aw, she is so progressive and loves the environment.”  Oh wait.  I live in West Virginia.  It’s probably more likely that they are thinking “How did she end up here in our state?!  Go home, hippie!”

4)  A foodie’s dream.  I’m a self-proclaimed foodie.  I admit it.  I love food.  The Food Network.  I subscribe to Cooks Illustrated (yes, the first time that I heard this, I thought it was made up but no, it’s a real magazine).  Cooking.  Baking.  Trying all kinds of new and interesting foods.  And most importantly, eating.  The grocery store is my heaven.  Well, a good grocery store anyways.  I love the grocery stores that have the aforementioned amenities (a wine section, olive bar) as well as a good deli, sushi bar, a well-stocked international foods aisle.  I’ve never lived in a metropolitan area with one of those giant, fancy grocery stores but I’ve visited one or two and hands down, I fell in love with Wegmans.  If could transport my king-sized Simmons Beauty Rest to a Wegmans, I could probably live there.

5)  Mondoo’s Day Out.  I’m still unemployed.  Grocery shopping gives me an excuse to leave the house.  Enough said.

Hate:

1)  Choosing the wrong line.  I’m sure that I’m not the only one but really, I always choose the wrong line at the grocery store.  I just can’t win.  Just when I think:  “Score!  You got the shorter line!” the people in front of me always pull out a load of coupons or welfare checks or the cashier is more concerned with chatting up the customers than efficiently scanning the items.  Of course, I could always scan my own items…

2)  Kroger Self-Checkout.  NOT.  There is no more awful experience at the local Kroger than self-scanning your own items.  The machines are so sensitive, it’s like dealing with a pregnant lady.  Seriously, if you don’t immediately place your item in the bag after scanning, it freaks out (which is a bunch of bullshit because it’s not like you’re stealing it, you’ve already scanned it!), freezes up, alerts the attendant (whose job must be seriously annoying and boring) and you can no longer proceed with scanning your items.  And don’t even try to buy alcohol in a self-checkout line.  If by some miracle you can locate that worthless self-scan attendant, then they will need to review your ID and scan it which is a process.  Trust me.

3)  So cold.   No matter the time of year, it doesn’t matter.  Grocery stores are ALWAYS freezing.  But really, the most horrible time of the year to shop at the grocery store is summer.  You’d think it would be a welcome release from the sweltering summer heat but no!  It’s so cold and you’re dressed in shorts or a cute sun dress and walking through that store is pure torture.  I usually always make it my goal to make my trips to the grocery store as short as possible, especially in the summer, but it’s nearly impossible when Mr. Mondoo tags along…

4)  Going grocery shopping with Mr. Mondoo.  OK, I know, most housewives would probably kill to have their husband’s tag along to the grocery store but honestly, Mr. Mondoo and his shopping habits are aggravating.  You see, Mr. Mondoo is cheap frugal.  He loves looking for things on sale, especially the Manager Special meats (NOTE:  Manager Special does not mean that the manager has picked out a special cut of meat just for you.  Manager Special means if you don’t get this home and either use it or freeze it immediately, it’s going to spoil in a day.  It also means, eat at your own risk).  I appreciate the two dollars that he’s saving me and all but c’mon.  Let’s get in and out of the grocery store so that we can do something fun.  Like eat the food that we just bought.

5)  Bagging my own groceries.  You’d think that an eight-month pregnant woman furiously loading her own groceries would signal for the baggers to stop picking their noses and/or butts and help a sista out but no.  At least when I’m forced to pack my own groceries, I can control how many groceries go in each of my bags.  I swear, baggers think it’s a contest to see how many items they can cram into the least number of bags possible.  Attention baggers of the world:  I have six reusable bags.  Please use them all.  If you overload them, it makes it nearly impossible for me, pregnant or not, to load them into my car and then carry them into my house.

Eat me, it’s St. Patrick’s Day

17 Mar

Let me get this out of the way so I’m not apologizing throughout this post.  I surmise that I’m going to be bombarded with comments on how you all don’t agree with me on this one, especially when it comes to a certain frosty beverage from a world-wide fast food chain.  Feel free to share your contrary beliefs in a comment, but be nice.  Remember, to each his (or her) own!

I love eating.  I love holidays.  And most holidays lend themselves well to eating, hence the term, eating holidays.  Well, I’m here to proclaim that St. Patrick’s Day is the WORST eating holiday ever.  And here is why (at least I feel this way).

Corned Beef and Cabbage


Blasphemy!  How dare I call out corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day?  Well, guess what?  I learned via Alton Brown and his educationally delicious Good Eats that corned beef and cabbage isn’t really even Irish.  So there!  Plus, it’s totally gross.  Any time that I’ve been forced (mainly in my younger days.  Dad wasn’t a short order cook, you know.  He didn’t make multiple meals, you ate what was on the table or you didn’t eat) to eat corned beef, it’s always mushy and always tastes like Juniper Breeze from Bath and Body Works.  If you want a cured, spicy meat, you gotta go with pastrami.  All the way.  And don’t even get me started on cabbage.  It’s pretty much the most tasteless vegetable out there AND it smells like poo when you’re cooking it.  (Trust me on this one, I’m actually Polish and consume cabbage on many occasion.  Luckily, we’ve figured it out.  In order to make cabbage somewhat appealing, you need to use it to roll meat and rice and then cook it with tomatoes).  But for reals, if you want a traditional Irish entrée, try Irish stew instead.

Shamrock Shakes

Each and every late winter, I hear person after person long for a nearby Mickey D’s that carries the coveted Shamrock Shake.  Well, I got news for you, folks, there is nothing more disgusting than a Shamrock Shake.  If I wanted to eat something that tasted like toothpaste, I’d have a York Peppermint Patty or an Andes Candy.  At least they integrate chocolate.  And chocolate is something that I can get behind.  But a brilliant marketing plan on the part of McDonald’s though.  Take something gross (and something that people would totally tire of if on your daily menu) and limitedly release it every year.  And people go crazy.  Genius.

Green Beer

Guess what?  It’s green on the way down and green on the way out.  Is that how you want to spend your St. Patrick’s Day evening?  Well then, be my guest.  Start drinking green beer at 9am and continue doing so until you puke up green corned beef and cabbage by 3pm.  For the life of me, I don’t understand why drinking all day (and drinking green beer, no less) is fun but whatever.  My wish for all of you St. Patrick’s Day drunkies is that someday you grow up.  And try a glass of wine.  Much classier.

Guinness

“Name dropping” time.  Guess what?  I’ve been to Ireland, Dublin to be exact.  While I was there, I decided it would be a good idea to have my first pint of Guinness.  BAD IDEA.  First of all, it was warm.  Oh how refreshing!  Warm beer.  Second, it was as thick as a Shamrock Shake, I almost needed a spoon.  Third, it tasted like licking an ashtray.  Ew, no thank you, Guinness.  No siree, if I need to consume Guinness in order to make my St. Patrick’s Day complete, I’ll take it in the form of a chocolate cake, thank you.  I would totally make this but unfortunately, I haven’t found a store that will only sell me one cup of Guinness.

Green Jello shots

Ugh, I can’t think of a worst kind of Jello than lime.  Ew.  Gross.  I realize the necessity for green Jello given St. Patrick’s Day and all but there are so many more superior Jello flavors out there, raspberry and peach to name a couple.  If you feel the need to consume your St. Patrick’s Day alcohol via a dessert and shot glass, try these pudding shots instead.

Potatoes

Oh who am I kidding.  I freakin’ love potatoes!  Any which way as long as I can slather them in ketchup.  Baby loves ketchup.  BUT my Anal Annie OB/GYN says to stay away from carbs.  And even though Mr. Mondoo lectures me daily on how I shouldn’t eliminate them but simply cut down on them, I still don’t think it’s a good idea to gorge myself on potatoes today.  So at least during my pregnancy, potatoes make this list.  Gawd, that’s too bad.  I love potatoes.

A Happy St. Patrick’s Day from 141characters!  Luck of the Irish to you!  Stay away from the corned beef though.

Love/Hate: Valentine’s Day

12 Feb

Valentine’s Day is a day all about love.  But in typical Mondoo fashion, that doesn’t mean that I can’t find some things that I hate about it.  So in honor of Valentine’s Day on Sunday, I bring to you this week’s edition of Love/Hate.

Love:

1)  Presents. Who doesn’t love presents?  I mean really.  I don’t care what it is either.  Yeah yeah, I know a lot of people say that, especially at Valentine’s Day and then the significant other doesn’t come through with the bouquet of flowers or jewelry that you really wanted and you’re way pissed.  I swear that I’m not like that.  I’m not too picky when it comes to presents.  It’s really the thought that counts.  And that’s the truth.   Listen to what Mr. Mondoo got me for Valentine’s Day this year and you’ll believe me.  All I really wanted this year for Valentine’s Day were these delectable chocolate covered strawberries from a local chocolatier (I love that word, by the way).  They are so amazing and unlike any chocolate covered strawberry that I’ve ever had; the secret, there’s a layer of cream in between the strawberry and chocolate… sooooo good.  Well, Mr. Mondoo visited the chocolatier at the local farmer’s market a whole nine days ahead of time to order some for his valentine (me) only to find out that they start making them in April.   Wah wah.  Never fear!  While he was at the market, he discovered my favorite, not-so-easily-found-here-in-West Virginia potato chips and bought them for me.  He whipped up some homemade French onion dip and presented me with this gift last weekend, a whole week early.  What a man!  Of course, I’m six months pregnant so he really could’ve gotten me just about any type of food and I’d fall in love with him all over again.

2)  Chocolate. Oh how I love chocolate!  Really any kind of chocolate anything (molten chocolate cake, brownies, chocolate candies, bar chocolate, hot chocolate, s’mores, chocolate ice cream, and the list goes on).  One of my inconsequential bucket list items involves eating an entire box of chocolates like they do on TV and in the movies.  Seriously, I’d love to purchase one of those large heart boxes of assorted chocolates and sit down one day and eat the whole thing.  Well, maybe not the whole thing.  Some of those assorted chocolates are really gross.  Especially the ones that have liquid fruit in them (I know that Vitamin G is with me on this one).  Blech!  My favorite though, hands down, vanilla cream.

3)  Giving Valentines. I love nothing more than giving valentines.  Mainly because I’m crafty and love making handmade cards.  This is one of the reasons that I miss grade school so much.  Remember how the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, we would all make our little valentine receptacles out of paper bags or boxes, construction paper and doilies?  And then on Valentine’s Day we’d pass out our cartoony valentines with lollipops attached?  Man, those were the days!  I guess this is just another reason why I’m super excited to have kids.  Some people live vicariously through their children and push them into singing or dancing.  Nah, not me, I’m pushing Baby into crafting adorable valentines for her class.

4)  Special Occasion Restaurants.  Ok, I misspoke last week when I hailed Super Bowl Sunday as the only eating holiday post-Christmas season.  I was wrong.  That almost never happens.  However, Valentine’s Day is also another perfect excuse to eat good/bad for you things.  It’s also a fabulous excuse to visit one of those special occasion restaurants that are too expensive to dine at weekly (or even monthly).  Mr. Mondoo and I have date night at least once a week but we’re definitely way too thrifty to visit these special occasion restaurants if it’s not a birthday, anniversary, or if we’re invited by another couple and don’t want to seem cheap.  But all bets are off on Valentine’s Day.  I can’t wait to eat delicious food by candlelight and take a huge debit from our checking account.  Ah, Valentine’s Day!

Hate:

1)  Haters. You know the type.  The people who can’t wait to ruin your Valentine’s Day buzz by being completely bitter.  They are also the people who love the term “Singles Awareness Day.”  Listen here haters, I realize that Valentine’s Day has this connotation that it’s solely a day for those in romantic relationships but that’s completely untrue.  Valentine’s Day is all about love.  Love can exist between friends and family, not just significant others.  In the words of a wise sage (otherwise known as Vitamin G), “you can spend the day celebrating with people you love, even if you are not banging them.”  Yes!  Yes you can!  Go to dinner with a friend.  Buy valentines for your family.  Sure, Valentine’s Day may be some manufactured, Hallmark holiday but it can be fun, too… if you let it.  Don’t be such a Grumpy Gus.  And don’t ruin it for people who are in love.  That’s bad karma for someone looking for love.

2)  Heart-shaped jewelry. I watch a lot of TV.  I can’t help it, I’m unemployed.  There are so many commercials for national and local jewelry stores offering specials on various heart-shaped pieces of jewelry.  Barf.  Fine jewelry should be elegant, not the expensive version of something that you could buy at Claires.

3)  Valentine apparel… on adults. I’m all about Valentine’s apparel on children, you know, because they are kids and have no control over how you dress them.  But when it comes to adults, honestly, they shouldn’t be wearing any sort of holiday apparel at all.  I, somehow, never got to proclaim my disgust for the holiday sweater during the holiday season so I’ll use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to do just that.  Yeah, I’m talking to you, middle-aged women (I’d like to think/hope that women in their 20s and 30s know better than to don themselves in holiday apparel).  Why do you insist on wearing glittery, sequined holiday sweaters?  They don’t look good…. on anyone.  Do you want to dress festively for the holidays?  Try just wearing the colors of the season or adding an appropriate pop of Valentine’s Day color to your regular wardrobe (examples: a sassy red sweater, a pink scarf, red shoes, etc.).

4)  Red roses and stuffed animals. There is nothing more contrived than red roses and stuffed animals gifted on Valentine’s Day.  Except for maybe the dialogue on Gilmore Girls.  Red roses are so cliché.  If I’m given flowers, I much prefer an arrangement of assorted colorful flowers.  And let’s talk about the stuffed animals.  I loved stuffed animals… when I was eight.  What the hell are you supposed to do with a stuffed gorilla holding a heart on February 15th?  I mean, honestly.  Give me a bag of potato chips any day.

Happy Valentine’s Day from 141characters!