Tuesday, April 28, 2009

And for my next trick, I will eat my way across Utah County! (And parts of Salt Lake).

So I am off to Utah tomorrow for Women's Conference. And by 'Women's Conference,' I mean:

Pastrami burger at Burgers Supreme,

shakes at Stan's,

fry sauce,

somewhere good in SLC (Market Street Grill? Do any of you have recommendation of delicious food in downtown area?),

Shakes at the Creamery,

blueberry bagel from the Twilight Zone (not cause is good, just cause I ate them every day for years. Because it was the 90s so a girl could eat like 6 bagels without guilt, as long as she avoided cream cheese),

more fry sauce, maybe the kind from Training Table that has BBQ sauce in it,

one of those brownies with the mint frosting from the Cougareat,

a Gandolfo sandwich, from Gandolfo's,



I think that's it.

Am I missing anything?

Is there any place in Provo that might have popped up the past 12 years that I shouldn't miss?

Please don't tell me about any more shakes that I need to try.

Okay, fine, go ahead and tell me.

Also, we'll be going to see my cuzzin (wish she was my blood relation) Hailey in Willy Shakespeare's As You Like It at the Hale. 

You all should come, too, if you are in town.

Shakes afterward (Oreo banana, of course) at Sconecutter?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The moral of the story is: marmalade is very cheap. In the future, buy it at the store.

So I went to the Superstition Ranch Market in Apache Junction and bought strawberries to make jam. Only, I got a little excited by the cheapness of the berries (3 pounds for buck!) and bought 25 pounds. Then I called Melanie, who told me I only need 2 pounds for a batch. Errrr....

Yeah, exactly. I started to sweat. So I stopped at the nearby Wal-Mart to get more jars and pectin, where I saw lots more people without teeth than I normally see in the general population. Then I came home and started to work.

Guess what! Canning fruit is way more fun than canning meat! There is no fleshy, bloody mess, and the cooking fruit smells hot-sugary-good like IHOP. (I know you always come here for my practical advice and insights. So there you go. Now you know.) 

And my jam was good! And so easy! And I made strawberry syrup, too. And it was good, and even easier!

So after that, I got terribly cocky. And smug. It was really unattractive. I began to think I had Martha-like-super-hero-jam-skillz. So it was in this self-righteous state of mind that I thought, I should make marmalade. 

Because I have this whole tree full of lemons. And because I found this website in England where people talk about making their marmalade, and putting it in their bread and butter puds (short for pudding, I think), and on their blueberry scones with their clotted cream, and I started to get hungry. 

Oh! And I can't forget to mention that these people are serious about their marmalade. They do not, under any circumstances, use pectin from their Sainsburys or Marks & Spencers. They wrap their pips (seeds, I think) and pith in cheesecloth and simmer it with their tiny pieces of hand cut rind for 2 hours, then squeeze the gooey mess out of the cheesecloth and into the pot to make sure there are no artificial flavors in their hoity-toity, life-changing marmalade. 

One of them even said she is the Queen's Official Marmalader. (No, I'm lying. I'm sure the Marmalader is a hereditary position, and that person would never share tips and recipes on the internets. Duh.)

Anyhow, I was totally buying the aristocratic, Euro-style jam they were selling. Course, they would never actually sell it. For money. Isn't classy. (Like the word classy isn't classy. Is fun irony, no?) 

So, everything went fairly well through the simmering, but then when I squeezed in my pithy sludge and added sugar, things went horribly wrong. They said to turn the heat up extra high for 15 minutes. But they didn't say that bits of flying lemon sugar would leap angrily from the pot like fiery projectiles of volcanic ash, burning my hands and arms, and parts of my forehead. I ran out to the garage to get safety goggles. 

And to check the recipe and comments again. Cause nobody mentioned that she got marmalade in her bangs (fringe, she might call it) when she cooked up her Seville oranges and Meyer lemons on her antique wood-burning stove in her little cottage on the sea in Cornwall, or that he got second degree burns on his knees from wearing a kilt while attempting to stir grapefruit conserves in his castle in the Scottish highlands.  

When I got back, it was burned. Lemon toffee. I canned it anyhow. 

So that when I look at it, I will remember when I tried to be a fancy Jammer, ran before I could walk, and crashed and burned (am literally burned. Is a hard lesson).

Please, people. If you can learn anything from my failure, learn this:

Just go to the Dog Track Wal-Mart* and buy some pectin. Don't get uppity. Smile wide and friendly at the people with no teeth. They know what you didn't: that pectin in boxes is a miracle of the modern world, like contact lenses and TIVO. 

I wonder if Amish people use Sure Gell?

* The Wal-Mart in Apache Junction shares its parking lot with the dog track. No, I'm not kidding.

Have you even made jam? Did it work?
What is your biggest kitchen failure?
Please share.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My sister called me just now, and she said...

Sister Jen: Hello. I just bought something. Can you guess what it is?

Kelly: No.

Sister Jen: It is called Kindle. Do you know what it does?

Kelly: Yes.

Sister Jen: What?

Kelly: It gets unruly earwax out of your ears.

Sister Jen: No. It doesn't. You read from it. It is like a little computer. You can buy books wirelessly and read them right away. It holds 1500 books. And it will even read aloud  to you.

Kelly: ( backtracking) Oh, yes. Now I see. I would like one of those.

Jen: I thought you would. Now, will you go on Ebay and help me choose a chic Kindle carrying case?

Kelly: Yes. I like the one with the birds. Or the orange with blue flowers.

Jen: Both excellent choices. What was all that about earwax?

Kelly: Candling, Kindling. Is very confusing.

Do any of you have Kindle or know someone who does? 
Do they enjoy reading from a screen? 
Is this the future of reading? (It sure would have been nice for college textbooks.)
Do I need to get rid of all my sagging Ikea shelves full of paperbacks and get one of these doo-dads? 

When I say doo-dads, does it make me seem like a very old lady? 
(Cause I'm not. I'm still 100% medium-foxy.)

Go to Kelfari for today's book review!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

He's got hype-ups.

This morning:

Tom: Mom, will you please make my chin stop going up and down? 

Me: Huh? I don't understand. Your chin?  Oh, you have hiccoughs?

Tom: OHHHH! Yes, I have hype-ups. Please put me down for a nap so it will stop.

Seriously, I'm not sure he could be any more entertaining.

Just now he came in from outside, yelled ROBOT, did some jumping about, bouncing at the knee, and straight-armed dancing, (you must recall that he is entirely bottomless), then tried to microwave himself some edamame. Next, he begged me for a diaper, gave up on the diaper, and pooped in the frog potty while he scooted around on it from room to room on the tile floor. 

I mean, really. Who needs cable?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hope your Easter was fab. Let's talk Jell-O.

I have always loved Jell-O. 
Can't help it. 

Is 7 generations of Mormon Pioneer heritage reaching out from my tightly wound double helixes (helices?) to claim me as their own. 

I love it all, really, but I do not like it with any sort of vegetables (except celery. Finely chopped celery can be quite tasty.) 

I also avoid nuts, because it ruins the smooth and silky texture that to me is the simple beauty of Jell-O. (Except in that cran-raspberry jello filled with fresh cranberry relish. I can eat a whole pan of that over a long Thanksgiving weekend. Kari came to Thanksgiving and she was sold. Right, Kari?) 

But the best Jell-O I ever ate came to my door from an unknown source about a week after Sam was born (6 years ago). It was delicious. It came as manna from heaven. It was the food of the gods. (No, that wasn't foreshadowing. It isn't that Ambrosia Jell-O salad). Never has the idiom "hit the spot" been such a terrible understatement. I ate it all by myself. No sharing. Then I stuck my head deep into the Jell-O container and licked it clean.

I had Jell-O in my eyebrows. 
I was without pride, without shame. 

The Jell-O came from some nameless nice lady in my ward who brought us an after-baby dinner (I was going to say 'after-birth dinner', but that sounds super gross). Unfortunately, Jake answered the door. Even worse, since it came in the giant-sized Cool Whip container, and not in somebody's tupperware, 'Sister So-and-So's' name was not in masking tape on the bottom. The Cool Whip container was mine to keep. I could never send Sister Doe a thank you note. 

In some ways, though, the anonymity was good. For years afterward, I would sit in Relief Society, thinking, "was it she? Or, "maybe her?" and I would have warm and tender feelings for every woman in the room. (But then I went to work in Primary, where I had precious little time to ponder the Jell-O-creator.)

It wasn't until about 6 months later that I decided to make some of the Jell-O for myself. By then, the trail was cold. All I knew was this:

1. The Jell-O was green
2. It came in a Cool Whip container
3. It was very de-lish

I really couldn't remember anything else. Just the feeling (warm and happy) I had when I ate the Jell-O. Was not much to go on.

So I started googling green Jell-O recipes. My first attempts were tasty but way off base. I made that pistachio pudding one with the fruit and marshmallows. No, No, No. Was all wrong. I made that molded salad with the cottage cheese and the chunks of pineapple, even though in my heart I knew there were no pineapple chunks involved. It was okay, but clearly not THE JELL-O.

So yesterday I made a lime Jell-O fluff, with cream cheese, crushed pineapple, and marshmallows and lots of Cool Whip. No nuts. Duh.

I do believe I have made a breakthrough! I am now 75% sure that the elusive pot-of-gold-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow-Holy-Grail-type-Jell-O was a lime fluff. 

If it wasn't, it will be okay, because lime fluff is really super good. 

So now, I am going to strike out on my own, like a Jell-O pioneer, and make a fluff that is extra lime-y, and leave out the pineapple. Just Jell-O and Cool Whip and cream cheese, in a golden ratio, in perfect harmony. Maybe I'll add some limeade, to lime it up a bit? We'll see.

Could the answer be so simple? Who knows? I might fail, but even if I do, people will say of me: AT LEAST SHE HAD THE COURAGE TO TRY. SHE IS A HERO.


In other news, Small Child has not had one potty accident! Nary a one! As long as the diaper is off, he pees in the pot! (He's saving his solid deposits for nap time, when he gets his diaper. Is the next hurdle, of course.) Could it possibly be this easy?

(Family: photos of daughter's baptism coming soon. I think Jake has my camera in his truck.)

What's your favorite Jell-O? Please describe.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Blessing of the Sun and my friend Shawna

Here's my great friend (of 27 years!) Rabbi Shawna Brynjegard-Bialik on the news in LA yesterday. She's the blonde (without a beard)!

And a happy Passover to you!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Potty diary: Day 1

And so. 
9:40 am  
Mother gets idea that Small Child might be ready for toilet-training.

10:00 am
Bought small frog-shaped potty, to inspire Small Child's bladder and bowel evacuation. 

10: 15 am
Bought Robin Eggs as reward for filling frog.

11:00 am 
Removed Small Child's diaper. 

11:05 am  
Child is thrilled to be liberated from restrictive pants. 

11:10 am
Spends some time inspecting himself, now that he has access to his dangly bits.

11:20 am  
Child becomes nervous and begs for diaper.

11:25 am  
Small Child not at all thrilled about potty. In fact, seems sort of frightened. Maybe is because potty has eyes and feet. Is maybe not the best idea for potty. Is maybe the reason potty was on sale?

12:00 pm child finally coaxed onto potty with a single Robin Egg, and sits on it (torlet, not Robin Egg) while he eats his lunch. Yes, Mother understands is unhygienic.

12:10 pm  
Small child fills frog potty!!
(with mac and cheese)

12:50 pm  
Child is re-diapered and put down for a nap.

2:00 pm  
Mother eats half bag of Robin Eggs by herself during nap time.

2:10 pm  
Mother rationalizes that she deserves poo candy cause she totally used the toilet, no problem. All day long, in fact. Although she didn't use the frog potty.

2:30 pm 
Mother did three sudoku puzzles. She is loving sudoku. Why did no one ever tell her about sudoku before? Is way fun, and not as nerdy as you think! 

3:00 pm  
Small child's older siblings come home and wake him. Eldest sister sees potty and removes small child's diaper without telling Mother. She brings books and musical instruments outside with potty, and small child sits and reads for a very long time. 

4:00 pm  
Small Child produces 3 drops of urine! It falls in frog potty! Mother and siblings make big stink over it. 

4:01 pm
Child gets candy reward.

5:00 pm  
Naked small child dons giant roller skates. Gets back on potty. Mother takes photos.

5:05 pm  
Elder siblings clamor to get own photos taken, too.

Father comes home. Small child immediately pleads with Father for a diaper. Father concedes.