Monday, September 26, 2016

In the Kitchen With Grandma

Ok, she's not my grandma, but, she's my kids' grandma, so, close enough.

Since she has been visiting, Mom has cooked a number of meals for us, she has also assisted me in preparing some produce from my garden for the freezer. Our chore yesterday was Brussels sprouts, which, grew surprisingly well in my garden, considering that I have never grown them before.

Beginners luck? Probably. Let's hope that luck holds for the freezing process as well, because, between you and me? I've only done this with green beans, and, I vaguely recall them dying a slow, cold death in the freezer-burnt section of the deep freeze; hopefully we will eat the Brussels sprouts before they face a similar fate.

So, how is it done?

Well, obviously you have to harvest the sprouts from the plant. Apparently, this is best done right after a light frost, because the cold will convert the starches in the sprouts to sugar, making for sweeter sprouts. I did not know that. I learned about it right after I harvested my sprouts, you know, before it froze, because, frost is bad for a garden, right? Gah.





Anyway, let's pretend I harvested those bastards once they got chilly, 'k?

Assemble your equipment: pots, pans, colanders, and an awesome Grandma-type kitchen helper; this is what mine looks like, try not to be jealous.


Once you have everything ready, thoroughly rinse the sprouts and soak them in a solution of one gallon of water to one cup of vinegar for about thirty minutes, or, until they smell just enough like a douche to make you slightly uncomfortable.


Rinse and sort the sprouts by size, here we have small, medium, and large; if you are a really good sprout farmer, you may only have large sprouts, but, really, size doesn't matter. Well, not in Brussels sprouts, anyway.


Bring a pot of clean water to a boil, submerge sprouts and blanch (2 minutes for small, 3 minutes for medium, and 4 minutes for large).


Immediately drain sprouts and submerge in an ice bath for an amount of time corresponding to how long they were blanched.



Drain (you didn't set out that colander for nothing)....


...and package in freezer bags. I added a cube of frozen basil pesto that I made earlier this summer for flavor, but you can add whatever you like, or, leave your sprouts naked, either way.


Throw bags in the freezer and try to remember that they are there, or, more realistically; stumble upon them many, many months from now while trying in vain to locate something easy to make for dinner, then, chisel them from the ice encasement that will have inevitably grown up around the bag, pick out the least offensively freezer burned sprouts, and, heat in the microwave until hot.


And, that's it! Frozen Brussels sprouts 101.

Goddamn, my life has gotten interesting, right?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Homecoming 2016, Day Six

This is it: my last Homecoming post, ever.

Last. Ever.

This was the last time that I got to watch the Man-Cub dress up for the Homecoming dance, the last time that I got to cook Homecoming dinner for the Cub and his friends, the last time that I got to force them all to smile pretty for pictures for the Homecoming album.

I would say that it was the last time that I got to watch the Cub and his date leave for the Homecoming dance, but, since the Cub decided to go stag, that actually happened last year. In his defense, girls do bring the drama and I can't blame him for deciding to go alone , rather than hurting any one girl's feelings (my son is the most polite player in the history of players, apparently. Also, I totally heard that as "playa" in my head, thanks, pop culture references!).

I am planning to demand that he take a date to prom, in case you are wondering.

Anyway, the kids enjoyed a lasagna dinner, prepared by myself and several of the other parents, and, once the kids left for the dance, Hugh and I joined said parents at one of their homes for adult beverages and conversation. I'm really going to miss the social aspect of having kids in the house, once the Cub jets off for college.

You know, among the many things that I will miss.

Now I'm getting misty, so, rather than dwell on the sadness surrounding my impending empty nest, let's look at some pictures, shall we? Yes, we shall.


I love this picture, because, right after this, Mikey's date threatened to smack him if he didn't stop flinching every time she came near him with the boutonniere pin.


Then, she cocked a fist back, just to show she was serious. Hey, this girl is NJROTC and she conducts the marching band; I'm pretty sure she could deliver a solid punch.


Trace and the Cub thought it was funny, too.
















Photo bomb!

Damn, I'm gonna miss these kids.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Homecoming 2016, Day Five

So, not only was yesterday the Man-Cub's birthday, but, it was the day of the Big Game, so, there was a lot of pressure on the universe to make it a good day.

Spoiler: The universe did not disappoint!

The Cub was celebrated at the Homecoming pep assembly, where his friends and classmates took the unprecedented risk of choreographing a somewhat scandalous lap dance for him; the dance was performed by several of the Cub's besties, including Mikey, and, rumor has it that there were bikinis, bike shorts, and boas involved. I didn't attend the assembly (If only I could go back in time!), so the only proof I have that this actually happened was a Snapchat screenshot  sent to me by QB.



Well, that and the announcement that school administration will be conducting an investigation of the Student Council, who planned the skit.

Really, people? Insert eye roll, here.

The Cub's friends also managed to prank him with a truck-full of balloons, which I found hilarious, although, I'm not certain the Cub shared my amusement.



And, carrying on the family tradition; the Cub was crowned Spirit King at the assembly (Yep, still kicking myself for not going. Also, I am clearly raising royalty; it's like my thing), so, it was an eventful morning.


The afternoon consisted of the annual Homecoming parade, during which the Cub and his classmates rode on a float featuring the traditional d├ęcor of an outhouse and an old couch, although, in this case, the outhouse was a port-a-potty since the outhouse that has been used for generations went missing, somehow. Points to the Seniors for making do in a pinch.




At the parade, the Booster Club officers presented our husbands with a little token of our appreciation for everything they do to support our efforts (hauling equipment, painting the football field, rebuilding baseball dugouts, talking us down from our Crazy).




The flasks are the male version of our blingie Mom shirts, and, I think they loved them.


After the parade, I joined BCPE (Booster Club President Extraordinaire) at the High School, where we enlisted the help of a few football players to make the run-through banner for that night...





...then I went home to gather up Hugh, my mom, QB, Katie, and Emms, as well as two pump-pots of hot cocoa, five blankets, hats, gloves, coats, pom-poms, spirit sticks, posters, and everything else that I could think of to keep us warm and enthusiastic through what was predicted to be a very cold night.

And, cold it was! But, the boys kept us on our feet, cheering for each of their FIVE touchdowns! The final score was 35-7, which gave us a definitive victory.









It was a great way to celebrate the Cub's birthday, and, if I had to have a final Homecoming with the child, I couldn't have asked for a better way to go out.







Tune in tomorrow, when I share pictures of lord knows how many kids who show up at the house for lasagna and French bread; the Cub has apparently invited the whole school and we have no clear number of how many to expect will take him up on the offer.

This could get interesting.