Thoughtful Thursday: Consideration of Others

Thoughtful Thursday

And the lesson for today in the Pinteresting Blogosphere:  Consideration of Others.  Sadly, recent events have proven that many people either 1) don’t see consideration as a polite necessity or 2) go out of their way to be inconsiderate.

Yes, this is a ranting blog post.  I’m warning you in advance.

Recently, Muffin and I went to the $1 movie day.  It was a Tuesday (because that’s the day of the half price popcorn), and we were really looking forward to it.

Now, one of my (the only, in fact) only issues with the $1 movie is that several day cares and day camps bring their hordes of minions to the movie, clogging the theaters for families that are visiting.

On this particular day, the day we went to see Iron Giant, a local church-based day care was there.  Now, traditionally, people buy there tickets and then go to the concessions.  As there were five adults, one stood in line (behind all of us who purposefully arrived half an hour early to avoid the day care rush), and the other four went to the concession line!

They held up the line for 45 minutes (having basically cut us in line who had arrived before them), ordering 32 kids packs of popcorn, fruit snacks, and a drink.  They then turned around and ordered their own personal orders.

Finally, a parent in line in front of me (as it neared 10 o’clock and the movie was due to begin…and we were going to miss it because of the inconsiderate-ness of the church-based day care workers), shouted (she was angry, too), asking if one of the concessions workers was the manager.

When the manager replied in the affirmative, the mother expressed how it wasn’t fair or right for those of us who arrived early to have to miss the movie while those who arrived after us and cut in line were allowed to enjoy the full movie.

The manager agreed and showed consideration to all of us, holding the movies by 30 minutes so we could get our concession orders taken care of.

What bothers me most about this situation is that these INCONSIDERATE adults were teaching little kids to be inconsiderate, thus perpetuating the decline in good manners.

Yes, I realize that sounds melodramatic, but they certainly weren’t teaching the reverse!

Sound off!  What is your biggest pet peeve with modern behavior?

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Thoughtful Thursday: Not a Rant, I Promise!

Thoughtful Thursday

Truly…I promise.

Today’s Thoughtful Thursday post deals with another way to create a East coast favorite:  the Philly Cheesesteak.  I have eaten a cheesesteak in Philadelphia several years ago.  I’m going to upset some people (I’m sure) when I say I was…not impressed.

It was an okay sandwich.  But I’ve definitely tasted better.

And, in terms of making them, have you priced Steak-umms in the South?

Uh, that isn’t going to happen.

So, that’s why I was so jazzed when I was going through the recipes on Six Sisters’ Stuff and found the Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes.  Ground beef can be obtained much more cheaply (or even ground from a roast purchased for $2/pound) than the traditional meat.

And ground beef is easier to chew than meat that could be tough.

Prior to trying this recipe, cheesesteaks were one of those food items that I wished I liked.  I mean, they had one of my favorite ingredients of all times:  Worcestershire sauce.  I may have daydreamed about guzzling a bottle or two once during my childhood.

Yes, I know that saltlick would not have been a great idea, but I was like five, people!  I also swallowed (and instantly repented and regretted) the salt at the bottom of a bag of pretzels.

This recipe is a keeper and it is totally Muffin Approved.  But, then, he loves all things sloppy joe related.

Here’s what I did:

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

Adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff

1 pound ground beef (I’m pretty sure we used beef ground in the meat grinder attachment)

1 T Worcestershire sauce plus enough low sodium beef broth to make a cup

1 onion and 1 green pepper, both chopped

1/4 cup steak sauce

8 ounces mushrooms, diced

sliced provolone cheese

salt and pepper, as needed

rolls

Brown meat over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes.  Drain.  Add vegetation and cook 3-4 more minutes or until tender.  Stir in remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, and let perk away happily for 2 minutes.

Place a slice of cheese on the bottom half of each roll.  Top with a scoop of meat.  Wrap in foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

What’s your favorite type of sloppy joe?

Thoughtful Thursday: The Evil Facebook Monster

Thoughtful Thursday

Several months ago, I cut myself off from Facebook.

Every time I went on there, I felt myself grow angry and my blood pressure jump exponentially.  Somebody would post something to make me angry, have a person comment on one of his or her posts to make me angry, or tag me in a way that would make me angry (and possibly risk my job).  Or, the truly sick thing, post something borderline pornographic that my son could see as he looks over my shoulder hoping to see pictures of his cousins.  THAT is completely not cool!

I grew sick of political postings (whether I agreed with them or not).  The ones I didn’t agree with served to hike up my blood pressure.  I grew sick of seeing memes (even funny ones) or videos.

I got tired of feeling that, if I didn’t check Facebook every second of the day, that I might miss something important.  (Yes, I’m one of “those” people).

Yes, I liked seeing pictures of family members and friends.  Yes, I liked when my friends would post recipe ideas or useful information (or even updates about their families).  All of that was awesome.

But when coupled with everything else of Facebook that is evil/malicious/waste of time/spam/hatemongering, the trade off of not hearing and seeing the “good stuff” seemed acceptable.

Sure, I could unfriend people, but if it’s coworkers or family members that gets kind of dicey.  I could choose to block their feeds, but, again, that would be a bit awkward if a family member asks if you saw something acceptable that that person posted.  And, since one of the instances involved a comment to a post my sister made (not my sister herself), that seemed to not fulfill it as well.

My mother keeps asking me if I’ve seen something on so-and-so’s Facebook page.  I’m getting tired of having to make the “No, you know I quit Facebook and why” rant every time she asks.  Yes, I rant more places than just Thoughtful Thursday.

When we went to Canada, several of Josh’s relatives wondered why I wasn’t on Facebook anymore.  So, I ran through my list of reasons.

I don’t like missing out on the good stuff.  Truly.  I like seeing pictures of relatives and friends and friends’ families.

But I don’t know if there is a happy medium.  Why should something designed to make life better (at least I hope that was the original intent) only make life more complicated?

Or am I over complicating it?

I also know (like Pinterest which I can only see as ultimately good, unlike Facebook) that I can lose hours of my life unproductively on Facebook.  I’ve seen people who are addicted to it.  People who electronic-out during family time and meal times and simply can’t put Facebook down even if someone is trying to have a conversation with them.

At that point, it’s a serious problem.  I was never that bad, but maybe it’s only because I stopped myself in time.

Plus, I removed the app from my phone and enjoy the extra (tiny) bit of space.  Apple doesn’t allow for external storage on iPhones, dontcha know?

So, what is my solution? Will I go back to Facebook soon?

I truly don’t know.

But I do ask this.  If you know me in real life, don’t ask me why I’m not on Facebook because you will probably get the canned rant.

If you–or someone you know–is addicted to Facebook to the point that you Facebook message people while driving or ignore family at family functions so you can check out your wall, get help.  Take the app off your phone, destroy your account, whatever it takes–before you destroy your actual, real life.

I’m not simply being melodramatic there.

All of this being said, I use Facebook to let all of my friends and family know about these blog posts.

I only feel a tiny bit hypocritical about that. (And WordPress does the work for me, so I don’t actually have to expose myself to Facebook.)

Thoughtful Thursday: Review of Dinnertime by Ree Drummond

Thoughtful Thursday

What are the odds of having a not-rant-filled Thoughtful Thursday post.  I can feel the breeze caused by the collective eye rolls, y’all.  Truly, this one is more gushy than rant-y.  (Disclosure:  I received a copy of the cookbook that I will review below as a birthday gift from my parents.)

I promise.

For my birthday, my mom gave me three cookbooks, two on my birthday and one after (because it came out after my birthday).

Today, I will review for you the one that arrived after my birthday, allowing for the recency effect.

Image-1 (5)

Yup.  My mom handed it to me in the open package from Amazon.  She had to take a peek.  I now have all four of her cookbooks.

I love all three of the ones I had before, but the first one was the one I have always referred to as “the best.”  After skimming through (okay, absorbing every word, graphic, and photograph) the “new” cookbook, I have this to say:  the first one has a run for its money at last.

I LOVE IT!!!!!!

Most (if not all) recipes are available on her blog, and many have been featured on her TV show on Food Network.  This would be an excellent cookbook for the beginner cook for several reasons.  1) She photographs each step of the cooking process. 2) She has suggestions in the beginning to help streamline the cooking process (advanced prep, etc.).  Nothing new, but it is explained in the type of detail you would get from your bestie. 3) She offers serving suggestions and variations for each recipe.

So, it would (like her first cookbook) make a great bridal, housewarming, or college gift.

Her book is divided into breakfast, soup, salad, freezer food, 16-Minute Meals, pasta, comfort food, new favorites, veggie sides, starchy sides, and quick desserts.

Some of the highlights I’m looking forward to trying/trying again:

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Waffles

Huevos Rancheros

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Croissant French Toast (once the croissants from Sam’s go stale)

Breakfast Quesadillas

Lazy Chiles Rellenos

Cobb Salad

Chicken Taco Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Tomato Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Potato Soup

Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (like Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana)

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

Ready-to-Go Freezer Meatballs (including variations for Sweet-and-Sour, Sweedish, and BBQ meatballs)

Ready-to-Go Grilled Chicken

Ready-to-Go Chili Packets

Ready-to-Go Taco Chicken (with a variation for Chicken Nachos)

Ready-to-Go Beef Taco Filling (with variations for Salad Tacos)

Baked Ziti (that uses meat…I know!  Shocker!)

Lasagna Roll-Ups

Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce (Every once in a while a recipe comes along that screams “TRY ME!” This is one of those recipes!)

Pan-Fried Pork Chops

Orange Chicken (Otherwise known as, I have now after tears, angst, massive feelings of failure, self-doubt, and much bad feelings, finally created Orange Chicken successfully)

Beef with Snow Peas

Cashew Chicken

Chow Mein

Pasta Puttanesca

Bow-Tie Chicken Alfredo

Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Cajun Chicken Pasta (This is truly an awesome recipe.  Adjust spicyness to taste.  I feel the need to make it.  Like now!)

Skillet Lasagna

Shrimp Scampi

Quick Shells and Cheese

Salisbury Steak

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Oven-Barbecued Chicken

Red Wine Pot Roast

Chicken Enchiladas

Pork Chops with Wine and Roasted Garlic

Pollo Asado

Chicken Marsala

Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice

Chicken Milanese

Pawhuska Cheesesteaks

Green Chile Chicken

Burrito Bowls

Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole (I detest cauliflower and broccoli is not my favorite, but I want to try this one!)

Lemony Green Beans

Peas and Carrots

Colorful Coleslaw

Roasted Carrots with Vinaigrette

Veggies and Three Dips

Stovetop Mashed Potatoes

Breakfast Potatoes

“Slice-Baked” Potatoes

Rice Pilaf

Buttered Parsley Noodles

Risotto

Cheese Biscuits

Refrigerator Rolls

The Bread

Pudding (Vanilla, Butterscotch, Chocolate)

Quick Caramel Sauce

Slice and Bake Cookies

Quick Fudge

Rice Pudding

Dessert Panini

Thoughtful Thursday: Good-bye to an Old, Now Heavily Damaged, Online Friend

Thoughtful Thursday

I still remember the day I met you.

I was a fresh-faced girlfriend of 26, visiting my then-fiance in Canada and desperately wanting to impress my future in-laws.

My recipe books were at home, and I was at a loss.

You saved me.  It was a simple recipe, comfort food at its finest, salisbury steak, I believe.  I had never realized that the “steaks” were supposed to be oval in shape.

Of course, you were not a person.  People posted the recipes to you, but, looking back at the recipes that I carefully (and not-so-carefully) placed in one of my many “cookbooks,” you marked various stages of my young married life.

I remember how I tried to be alliterative and cutesy with my cookbook titles, like “Punches with Punch” and “Casserole Crazy.”  Yes, I carried it over to Pinterest, but you were my first.  And for a bit, my only.

I was one of the crazies that paid to have multiple cookbooks and no ads.

In those days, Recipezaar, you were, as my sixteen-year-old self would have said, the bomb.

And then came the change.

After Scripps (y’know, the Food Network and spelling bee people) bought you, you were diseased…infected.  You didn’t look the same…or act the same.  To my shame, I began visiting you less and less, using you only to locate old recipe standbys.

They made you change your name…from something so memorable and magical and whimsical as Recipezaar to the much less appetizing (pun intended) Food.com.

You grew less approachable.  At times, I forgot your existence.  I missed the friends that I had met there, discussing OAMC and budget cooking ideas.

Today, I felt a yen to visit you.  I had heard mention (maybe in an e-mail that I had speedily deleted) that you had changed further.

I truthfully couldn’t recognize you.  You were nothing like the friend I remembered.  Even now, as I sob (yes, I know I cry too much) remembering you as you were and mourning what could have been, I am lost.  It took over an hour to find out how to access my recipes that I had spent hours saving over the years.  It will take countless hours to PDF them to my computer.  Once that happens, and I’m saying this in advance:  I am breaking up with you.  We are no longer friends.

You’ve lost the essence of you and I fear there is no way to get you back.  The essence was not a glut of recipes; your essence was how you made everyone optimistic about cooking.  Now, you just seem to be a clone of the Food Network website or AllRecipes (or the especially obnoxious and annoying Yummly).

By the way, I miss the Community Message Boards.  That’s what brought me back today…and the loss of them made my goodbye final.

I am one…in case I haven’t hammered it home before…adverse to unnecessary change.  Recipezaar wasn’t broken, and what Scripps did to it through its various “improvements” destroyed it.  Change is not always good.  Not always positive.  And, in this case, it certainly wasn’t.

Goodbye, my friend.  I will remember you fondly.  Waves

Thoughtful Thursday: Recipe from the Post That Disappeared

Thoughtful Thursday

This is very scary folks.  My Thoughtful Thursday post that I poured my heart and soul into disappeared.  I am trying to get to the bottom of it, but, sadly, I didn’t have the post saved.  I will now attempt to recreate the recipe portion.

This recipe, as I said so much more eloquently in the now-missing post, is adapted from a recipe at Food.com.  It says spicy but you can adjust the spice to your taste.  My son, Muffin-who-swallows-cups-of-salsa-at-Mexican-restaurants but who has become a spice-phobe shoveled the shrimp in.

Sometimes, we boil the marinade for a few minutes and serve it with bread for dipping.  Yum, yum!

This recipe is a great recipe to serve up during the patriotic week or any time.  My mom loves this recipe, and she was the one to request it.  I suggested we have it for Canada Day, and there you have it.  It is totally yum!

Spicy Citrus Grilled Shrimp

Adapted from Food.com

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons sugar

4 oranges, zested and juiced

2 limes, zested and juiced

1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

Combine all above ingredients except shrimp in a bowl.  Add shrimp to the bowl and stir to coat.  Marinate 15-30 minutes (any longer and the acids will start to “cook” the shrimp).  Grill 1 1/2-2 minutes per side.

This recipe is totally Muffin Approved!

Muffin Approved

Thoughtful Thursday: What I Learned on the Trip to Houston

Thoughtful Thursday

So…we returned from Houston.  I did learn a few things.

  1.  Have an indoor activity and an outdoor activity planned each day.  If you will remember, Houston was threatened with thunderstorms/tornadoes/etc. for part of our trip.  If I had planned better, I would have been more prepared with spur of the moment activities.

  2.  Avoid tolls!  Sam Houston Tollway is NOT transpondered.  And some of the toll stops are $1.75 a stop.  Yah, only made that mistake ONCE!  The frontage road is your friend!  Those Frontages!  They make good roads!  (Family joke.)

  3.  Bring at least one (if not several) rolls of quarters.  If you don’t pack copious amounts of clothes or your son is prone to peeing on his special blue blanket at night, you WILL be doing laundry at the hotel.  Also, you will find yourself needing quarters for other things.

  4.  And, while we are on the subject, bring a few of those travel detergent packs (or a few uses of homemade, if you are cool like that…one day I hope to be that cool) and a few fabric softener sheets.  And make sure to stay at a hotel that has self-laundry facilities.  (And make sure that when you dry the clothes that you–in an effort not to have to pay another $2 to dry another load–don’t dry the blue blanket on delicate because you have a dress in the load that has to be dried on delicate.  NOTHING gets dry that way.)

  5.  On a similar note, the hotel room’s bathroom’s hair dryer does a sorta passable job drying clothes, but it takes a while and your arms will get tired.

  6.  Rooms with a microwave and a mini-fridge are a major plus!  This allows you to have lunch in the room (reheated leftovers, microwavable meals, etc.  Pack plastic cutlery, napkins, paper plates, and paper bowls for that eventuality.

  7.  Try to stay at a hotel with a free breakfast.

  8.  Research the hotel and the area thoroughly.  Trip Advisor and Yelp are your friends and are rarely wrong.

  9.  Travel with some form of GPS, preferably with voice.  Getting lost in Houston is NOT fun!

  10.  Jimmy Changas is a great Mexican restaurant and is also the only Mexican restaurant that I know that has a play area.  And Josh said (and I totally agree) that they have the best queso ever!

Josh’s dish from Jimmy Changas. I had to snap a shot; I couldn’t resist!

  1.  King’s Biergarten is fabulous, as well!  They have live music on Friday and Saturday nights.  Great sausages!

  1.  The Houston Galleria series of parking garages are impossible!  It is perfectly acceptable for you to admit that they defeated you and tuck your tail between your legs and head to your hotel.

  2.  Galveston Island is the place to be on a hot, sunny Memorial Day!  (Park at Walmart and do some shopping there afterward because it’s Walmart…on an island…within sight of the surf!)

  3.  Johnson Space Center is out of this world!  (Sorry.  I couldn’t resist!)

  1.  Kemah Boardwalk is worth the splurge.  Arrive EARLY and ride your heart out!  (And the observation tower “ride” is air conditioned!)  Make sure you bring a cooler full of icy drinks and snacks and skip the paid parking.  The wrist bands are good for all day, so you can leave to your car and return to ride some more.

  1.  Muffins and other five year olds probably need breaks from tourist activities every three hours or so.  So go back to the hotel room and rest.

  2.  Conversely, try to leave the hotel for a few hours each day during housekeeping time.

This is a great roundup of things I learned.  I learned bunches more, but that’s for another post!