Friday, March 13, 2009

You Should'nt Have, But I'm Glad You Did!

Yesterday, (Thursday) I spent a good amount of my time griping that I told my husband I wanted a party and it did not look like I was going to have one. I also told just about everyone that I had to buy myself a birthday cake so that my children could celebrate me blowing out the candles. (Which is very important when you are 3 and 5 years old.)
My lovely friend, Debbie who is not only going to babysit so that I can go out for a grown up dinner this weekend, invited me over for dinner. I enjoy cooking and serving meals to my friends and family but I love it when someone else cooks, especially when it is in honor of ME.
When I arrived, Sheila with her amazing energy and her husband Jeff who is the pickiest eater I know (worse than most children, even) and Craig, Debbie's husband who bought an array of wines to please my palate, along with all of our children and, of course, Rob, too (I like to complain about my husband even though I know he orchestrates quite a lot behind the scenes) greeted me with a big "Surprise!!!" at the door.
I started feeling even more special when I read the board Debbie made which featured me starring on the cover of my own food and lifestyle magazine a la Rachael Ray and detailed happenings from 1969 and 2009.
I guess after all that complaining about the Roche Bros cake, it is obvious that someone would make me a scrumptious, homemade cake. You better believe it. Sheila made a beautiful, moist lemon cake with raspberry filling and her aunt Sheila helped her decorate it at about 11:00pm the night before, or so it is rumored.
All I can say is "Thank You" I honestly feel super special after a night like this. It's one thing when your mom cooks dinner on your birthday. You feel special and safe in that consistent, family love way. But when your friends take the time out of their crazy, busy lives to grill swordfish and make salads with vinaigrette and goat cheese, it seems like the whole world loves you.
Thanks, guys. You actually make it fun to finally belong to the "40" club!

You Shouldn't Have

I really should have posted this on 3/11/09 (Wednesday) when it was far more relevant but here goes:
I realized today when Ava said, "Mommy, you didn't blow out any candles, yet." that there would be a problem if there was no cake tonight. Since I certainly did not want to make myself a birthday cake and no one else seemed to be planning to make one or even buy one for me, it was going to be up to me to procure the cake.
Val was very kind and took pity on me. She rescued me from my children by taking them back to her house so that I could have the afternoon alone.
Off I went to Roche Bros, since they have the closest thing to a decent bakery. On my way, I decided I also did not want to cook dinner on my birthday, either. I called Rob to drop a hint. The conversation went something like this:
me: "Hi. What do you want for dinner, tonight?"
Rob: "How about chicken parm?"
me: "Are you crazy??? I don't want to cook that on my birthday!!"
Rob: "Then how about something easy like a roast chicken with rice and some vegetables?"
(Honestly, I don't know why he thinks this is at all easy, he has never roasted a chicken in his life! Clearly, he is not getting it.)
me: "Never mind, I'll think of something, bye."

As I was browsing the bakery area, my cell phone rang.
Rob: "Do we have stuff for a stir fry?"
(What is he thinking? He doesn't cook stir fry!)
me: "What did you have in mind? What is the sauce?"
(The sauce is very important to me. It must have the right flavor and consistency.)
Rob: "Oh, I thought I would just use some soy sauce and brown sugar."
me: "I appreciate the thought. But, I really don't like it when you don't use a recipe."
(Give me a break, if he was Daniel Boulud, he can do whatever he wants without a recipe. Rob is many things but he is not Daniel Boulud.)

I know what you are thinking. I maybe should have been happy with some stir fry with questionable sauce. Well, I would have been happy with take out pizza. At least I like the sauce.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Steak Revival Birthday

Thanks to Val for reviving the long lost "Rolled Steak" yesterday for the dual birthday extravaganza. Yummy!

I'm anxiously awaiting her notes so that I can have the recipe for myself. I'm also trying to brush the crumbs of my computer keyboard from the delectable, 100 calorie per portion?! dessert filled with semi sweet chocolate and ricotta cheese. I will need this recipe, too.

It was a great birthday celebration and the kids enjoyed it as well. Now if my two lovely children would understand the fact that #1 I'm now 40, officially an old lady and deserve, make that demand the respect I am due. #2 Stop fighting already and let me enjoy my afternoon. #3 Quit wining and let me have some peace!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What should you really be doing right now?

I've finally finished editing the first edition of "Lessons from Val's Kitchen Volume 1, 2008" Available now on!! I'm hoping that there aren't to many hideous mistakes. Now, I should be able to get back to the original idea, the BIG cook book: Val's Cape Cod Kitchen. I know you are all anxiously waiting for it!

Now, if I could only motivate myself to do all of the things I don't want to do like write assessments for the company that actually pays me money and cleaning the kitchen.

Tonight, Val is making rolled steak from one of the lost recipes that we cant find. It should be really good. We had to change the actual date of the Birthday dinner from Wednesday night to tonight because of a certain family who shall remain nameless but suffice it to say, they fly by the seat of their collective pants and send the rest of us who actually try and be organized into complete turmoil. (I mean this in the nicest possible way. Really, I do.)

Sadly, instead of photographing the making of this delicious meal, I am waiting for the cable guy because our phone is acting crazy and Rob actually got called into work today.

I know what you are thinking. Just get the assessments done so that you can get paid while you wait for the cable guy instead of writing on this silly blog.

Who are you? My mother?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Home Ec, Babysitting and Friendship

Right now, I am working on my March article for the Falmouth Bulletin. It's about after school snacks or my memories of afternoon snacks at Val's house. (The fact that it is already March 2 is a bit of a problem, I know.) Since I am reminiscing about school days, it is inevitable that I think of Jenny. Often, my thoughts include her funny "code" words and silly stories that we shared. Most of them may not seem funny to the outside world and some are just to sordid and un P.C. to tell. In particular, I am thinking about one that goes back to the year we met. Seventh grade is such and awkward and insecure time of life. Meeting a friend like this was like grabbing onto a rope after being thrown overboard. Enough of that. What really has been on my mind and way to inappropriate to print in the Bulletin is a song that Jenny and I made up during the babysitting "module" of our Home Economics class. Sorry, Mrs Leonard.

"Never drop a baby on a hard wood floor,
Never drop a baby on a hard wood floor,
Never drop a baby on a hard wood floor.
Unless you're sure it's dead!"

Please forgive our adolescent humor.

I hear that Home Economics is now called "Life Skills" and that the wood shop where we pounded nails while we got out our teenage frustrations is now closed. This is all very sad to me as I recall that these classes let out some steam and if nothing else allowed us to form lasting bonds over botched sewing projects and splintered wooden birdhouses.

Back to the snack research.