Archive | August, 2010

Church Lady

29 Aug

Today I got cooking for our annual church potluck get-together, to bid farewell to lazy, hazy summer days and ring in the various autumnal events: school (this homeschooling mom is strangely filled with angst this year), Labor Day, and more school.

Luckily, our church is filled with cooks, such as yourselves, who like cooking up “different”  (some kids would say, “strange”) dishes, so I’m always hesitant to bring in some of mine, fearing they won’t measure up.  Sure, pun intended.

Here’s what I’m bringing:

Green beans and roasted potatoes w/lemon, dijon dressing

Pretty. Right?!  I think “driver boy” is getting better with his picture-taking skills. At least, today, he didn’t mind being called several times throughout the preparation to move away from his computer and set up these shots.

Here’s the finished product:

A New Twist on an Old Standard

If you’d like the recipe, you can find it in the ‘Table Menus’ section.

Off to see my church peeps. Right. Moms aren’t supposed to say “peeps.” So sorry.



25 Aug

Hubby returned home from our favorite local hardware with a package of hooks in hand.

More hooks on which to hang more aprons!

Who says diamonds are a girl’s best friend?

My Own Melt

24 Aug

a quick fix

Home from work a bit earlier this evening. Violin girl out for the day/evening. Drummer/Driver boys fixed themselves some leftover ravioli, courtesy of Aldi frozen food department.  Thank you, Aldi. Hubby, in basement (his favorite spot) changing his bicycle tire, not yet ready to fix himself something–unbeknowst to him.

Since there didn’t seem the need to call on my magic cooking wand, I decided to make these sweet little tuna melts from the tuna salad I made for lunch earlier in the day.

Here’s what I used:

tuna salad made from: canned tuna (not glamorous, I admit), scallions, a few shakes of garlic salt, pinch of cayenne (or few drops of tabasco), couple tablespoons mayo, and a bit of freshly-squeezed lemon to taste. Sometimes, I’ll add finely chopped, summer-fresh pickling cucumbers or English ones, when out of season.

On English muffin halves: place your tuna salad, or one made with crab or salmon would be yummy. Add slice of summer sweet tomato to each half and cover with cheese. I used provolone, but havarti or gouda would be nice, too.

Place under broiler and broil until cheese melts and browns nicely.

Simple and tasty.

Here She Is…

23 Aug

A New Addition!

I found her while shopping for new bath towels at Marshall’s. I came upon a collection of sweet aprons hanging on a rack. This was not among them. Initially, I had eyed a spiffy little number with orange, yellow, and brown polka dots.  Did I mention I have a thing for polka dots?  Problem was, the neck strings were all tangled among the others, so much so that I was willing to forego them just to save face with the other onlookers.

I felt so deflated, particularly because a few younger-lings had come up on them and remarked how uber-cute they were, which made them appear even more appealing.

I went on, looking for my commonplace bath towels, when there she was. Lying innocently on the lower shelf in the shower items aisle. I nearly stepped on her. I had never seen an apron as flirty as she/her. Going into apple season made it even more relavent to my purchase, so I reasoned.

Once home, “violin girl” snatched it from my cook’s hands and declared, “Oh, I love it. It’s mine!”  I didn’t have the heart to tell her otherwise.  I had “driver boy” take a few photogs of her wearing the new addition; however, when I went to upload them from his SD card, I found that he had deleted them, assuming I had already done so.

A bit of ranting ensued and both “violin girl” and “driver boy” declared a mutiny. It’s a shame, because they were such nice pictures.

That was yesterday and all seems forgiven. “Driver boy” allowed for one more photo shoot. Really. Just one photo.

My New Apron

21 Aug

I finally had the chance to don my new apron–a lovely gift from my lovely friend, Lilly, who presented it to me when we were back home in Cleveland for the Paramore concert.

I decided to try it on and see what incredible powers it would bring to me whilst I slaved in the kitchen.  Less than a minute in, the kitchen became crowded with curious onlookers–various family members gawking and questioning my apron time. 

What was a lady to do? 

Me and My New Apron

That’s right.  Enlist “driver boy” to shoot some photogs of mom having super-fun time with her new apron.

Drummer boy crashes my little party.

Facebook vs. Mom. Game-Facebook.

 I don’t know why he bothered to show up.

Out to Lunch

18 Aug

With kids in tow, plus Laura’s Jacob, made our way to meet with friends at the newly-opened (actually, month-old, but new to us) Creperi establishment, its sister-store I had posted about previously. 

Had no qualms about the menu offerings and how they would be viewed as far as “violin girl” and hers were concerned. However, “drummer boy” and Marshall, who will now, and in future posts, be referred to as “driver boy” (an expert in pretend backseat and frontseat driving since the age of 5), are the poster children of picky eaters. This means that each new restaurant menu would have to be carefully dissected and re-interpreted, even re-designed, in quick fashion in order to expedite the ordering process. I can not stress enough how much I live for this task.

As it turned out, “drummer boy” made a quick decision, even accepting my adaptation of the Gyro (please, do not say jye-ro; it’s “eeerro”), sans all the toppings and garlic sauce. That’s right, ma’m…just the meat and pita. One down, one to go. “Driver boy” required a different approach. One which is rooted in a delicate dance between two control freaks, namely Kaukab’s daughter and said “driver boy.”

Using my best speech pathologist’s intonation and inflection skills, I was able to present an interesting interpretation of a salmon-filled crepe. I told him that he could omit the salad greens ( he likes them, but in a bowl). “No,” said he. “I like them.” I noted his decision carefully and deliberately; because in my experience, initial decisions tend to be forgotten…disregarded as important evidence to support a prospective argument–the probability of such being very high.

Out came the various food stuffs. Not a peep from the boys.  From our table, set four sections behind theirs, I could see their jaws moving, in what appeared to be delightful nashing and laughter abound. I couldn’t believe it. Apparently, I had won them over. No small feat.

Afterwards, some school supplies shopping.

In the parking lot, the car engine ready to go, “driver boy” turns to look my way, and I sense a stinging remark about to push forward. “I’m not going back there ever again!” Kaukab’s daughter is horrified! “What do you mean? I thought you liked salmon.”  Driver boy–“I like salmon, but I don’t like all the salad stuff!”

See what I mean?


16 Aug

Our trip to Cleveland last week:

Tuesday 9:30 a.m. 

Left on time. Even, with Laura. Picked up Laura’s beau. Again, right on time.

Fast food brunch. Bleh.

2:45 p.m.  Arrived at Kaukab’s.  Feasted on Middle Eastern spread, aka Mezza.

Green beans, tabouli, hummous, kibbe, spinach pies (triangular-shaped, spinach-filled baked goods), baked chicken, pita bread. Lots of Kaukab-isms to mull over.

5:30 p.m.  A 5-house walk to Lilly’s to gather her for a Paramore concert downtown riverfront and drop off hubby and Marshall, who will stay behind with Lilly’s hubby. Later, Lilly’s hubby will take Marshall for “driving” lessons–Marshall’s 14 yrs. old and believes he knows how to drive, simply because he has perfected simulated steering from his back seat throughout his childhood, and often with a variety of non-real steering wheels.

6:15 p.m. Hubby eventually locates the correct detoured drop-off for said concert, and we are happy.  I am happy, in particular, because I get to spend a concert with someone who is of like age and not of usual situation whereby I’m one of only a handful who aren’t of the skinny jeans demographic. We plunk ourselves just outside the large tent area and enjoy our lemonade freezes, while the kids make their way to the “mosh pit” to find some of their other mosh friends.

9:00 p.m. Paramore hit the stage hard…and loud. By this time, we’ve made our way just to the right of the mosh pit and fairly close to the stage. Found ourselves next to a woman–also not of skinny jeans demographic–who was not too happy with us, nor anyone else who dared to come within 3 ft. of her. Funny, I thought she would have known that it’s just about impossible to clear anyone of that space requirement, particularly when you choose to stand near a mosh pit at a Paramore concert. I’d never been to a Paramore concert, but I pretty much figured that I’d not be able to set up my rocker and have all the room to rock out to my heart’s content.

11:00 p.m.  Concert over and we are famished. My lower back hurts from standing…and jumping. Don’t worry, my kids didn’t see me. A pleasant walk up to street level and into the Terminal to catch the train back to Lakewood.

11:45 p.m.  Back to Lilly’s for food. Marshall, et. al. save precisely three pieces of pizza…so my other son had those. I made a quick walk back to Kaukab’s to gather more of the leftover Mezza and back to Lilly’s for a late night snack. Also, Lilly provided us with a scrumptious raspberry chipotle salsa and another of  green olives, made by a guy in Cleveland. All with blue corn chips. Excellent. He doesn’t have a website, as of yet. Not even a label on his jars! I’ll let you know what I can find out. Because, seriously, so good. I usually don’t bother with jarred salsas.

Next morning, left for home. Without Melt. Paramore and the rest of the bands ate there the night before. She spoke about her love for Melt. We had planned on eating there for an early lunch Wednesday, before heading home, especially, since Jacob (Laura’s) hadn’t been before. Alas, no time to be melted.

You don’t want to guess where we ate lunch on the road, do you?


Not Like Mine

7 Aug

Green beans, with cinnamon.

My dear friend, Lilly, couldn’t wait to tell me about the green beans she’d made, using the recipe I mentioned in a June post.  Her thrill wasn’t so much in the making of the green beans, and their tasty, “tastes-like-Kaukab’s” results; but rather, Kaukab’s verdict after tasting it.

Friends, I give you the verdict–word-for-predictable-word: K. “Yeah, it taste good.  Cinnamon?  Whad you mean, cinnamon?  There no cinnamon in mine.”


Got Oil?

6 Aug

I Miss You! Hurry Back.

With all the havoc BP’s created in the Gulf, I’m fully aware that my yearning for more oil seems a tad insensitive. But, a person of Mediterranean heritage–such as myself–can feel a “quart low” if enough days pass without consuming a regular diet of foods touched by olive oil–particulary, of the extra virgin persuasion.

It’s day 5, and I’m at a loss as to what to eat.  Not until you lose something so significant to your everyday life that you realize its real importance to your sustenance. Okay…a bit overstated, I concede.

So, for the past 5 days I have done without several of my favorite dishes, because I couldn’t stand the thought of eating them naked. My husband, in his infinite wisdom, pronounced in such a way as if he’d solved the oil cap problem, “Just use the Canola oil, instead!”  Brilliant! Of course!! Nevermind that Canola has neither the viscosity or flavor of olive oil, let alone the extra virgin kind. It’s oil, right?

Heeeey?  Maybe, I’ll just drive myself to the Gulf of Mexico, scoop me up some of that wonderful fresh virgin oil, and whip us up some of my fine salad vinegarette.

Kids, get in the car.


4 Aug

After my play-by-play account of our day out on the open highways and biways, I realized something important about Kaukab’s place in this modern-day fast food world.

I asked myself, ‘Self, what would Kaukab have fed me that was quick, cheap, and full of nutritious goodness?’ 

The answer harkened me to a time when I was in elementary school.  Most everyone walked, and all meals were eaten at home. There was no school breakfast or lunch program. You got up; got dressed; and you ate your breakfast, ready to face the long walk to and from school–twice over. Once, to school’s morning session, back home for lunch; then back to school for afternoon session, and back home for dinner (supper in these parts) and homework.

In those days, there was McDonald’s, but it didn’t learn of breakfast until several decades later. People just had to figure out how to get themselves fed without ’em.  Fortunately, for we five kids, McKaukab’s served breakfast. No McGriddles, and rarely a pancake. Mostly, when we were pressed for time, Kaukab fashioned us what I like to think of as the prototype for the modern-day roll-up. She’d take a rather large, thin pita bread and slap a thick shmear of her homemade yogurt cheese to its edges.  A fine drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and ready for a tight, Cuban-cigar-worthy roll-up. The whole operation took her less time than it does for Mickey D. to take your order–much less “prepare” it.

We’d take our “cigars” on the walk to school–at least a couple mornings a week–happily tearing the stiff, dough-y rolls with our baby teeth, thankful we weren’t subjected to a lukewarm Farina standoff at Kaukab’s table. 

McKaukab’s Pita Roll-ups: Breakfast of champions.

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