Monday, August 30, 2010

Why Apple Crisp deserves its own blog entry

I am in the perfect marriage.

I love to bake. My husband loves to eat what I bake.

You can see how, mathematically, that works out pretty well for me.

So with two apple trees in the backyard heavy with fruit (well, all the fruit sort of dropped off one of the trees last night, so maybe it's just one treeful now), I've got all sorts of applicious plans.

A couple weekends ago, it was a perfect Dutch Apple Pie.

Last weekend, it was Apple Crisp.

I had big plans for this Apple Crisp. I'd been thinking about it all week, saving it as a weekend project even though apples were just flying off the tree. I made sure I had quick-cooking oats and brown sugar.

So on Saturday, I was set. I made my Apple Crisp in the afternoon, and set it next to the Costco take-and-bake pizza that would be dinner, so Matt would see what an awesome wife he has. After the pizza was finished cooking, I popped the Crisp in the oven. We even found some vanilla ice cream in the freezer to serve with it.

Oooh, I waited. Apple Crisp ala mode.

I served Matt a bowlful, and then settled in to my own delicious dessert. And after two bites, I remembered something utterly and tragically dismaying.

I really don't like Apple Crisp.

How could I have forgotten! There's something about the oatmeal-cookie-over-apple-pie dessert combo that makes me instantly, achingly full and regretful of every bite I took.

I walked out to the living room and sadly handed my bowl to Matt, who had already finished his.

And I have been walking around, bitterly disappointed, ever since. I'm still working on how it's possible that I'm over 30 years old, and still can't keep my food preferences straight.

Most of all, though ... I was really looking forward to that Apple Crisp!
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, August 26, 2010

That's not your ball!

It seems like the apples on my tree at home are just raining down, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Every few days, I try to chuck them over the fence to the greenbelt adjacent to our backyard. There are several families of deer there, and the apples are typically gone the next morning.

Last night, Koa was out there with me as I tossed apple over apple over the fence. I noticed he'd get REALLY excited whenever I'd pick one up, but I didn't think much of it until one bounced off the fence and he caught it neatly in his mouth, then dropped it at my feet.


I picked it up and threw it across the yard, and he bounded after it. Of course, being half rotted, it split in two, and he carried it for a few paces before dropping it, licking it and looking at me.

"Something's not right here," he seemed to say.

But he caught the next apple that didn't make it over the fence. Same routine: Catch, drop, lick, ponder.

He ate a few tiny chunks that were scattered in the yard, but wouldn't touch the whole apples.

So that's my story: My dumb dog chases apples. Then gets mad that they're apples. But still wants to play with them because, hey ... maybe next time it will be a ball.

Hey dummy, here's a tip: If it smells like an apple, it's probably never going to be a ball!
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Winning at fighting

Last night, Matt and I had an argument.

It was over a $1.97 soda. Ostensibly, anyway. What was really happening is anybody's guess. Mine is stress and sleepiness.

In a huff, I flounced into the bedroom to read. Matt continued to make dinner (maybe hunger was part of the problem, as well).

I ate at the table, while he took up his half of our tandem La-Z-Boy recliner and settled in to watch some show about swordfish. Which I found incredibly annoying on principle. The principle, of course, being that he could even watch TV at all ... didn't he realize I wasn't speaking to him?

(Of course he did. But our fuses burn at different rates. His flare up immediately, and then dim to a controllable steadiness. Mine flare at any carbon dixoide release--get it?--but die quickly with nothing to feed them.)

After I finished dinner, I decided that since I was so mature (after all, I was the one who walked away from the argument!), I would be THE MOST mature. I would take the dog for a walk. Even though it wasn't my turn. That way Matt could simultaneously relax after a really long day at work (hey, I'm not a total shrew); AND understand how mature I am and thereby admit that I Was Right And He Was Wrong.

But when I came home, he continued watching TV. I went back in the bedroom to read and fall asleep. Nobody noticed how awesomely mature I was, even though I totally Won at Fighting.

Now, with almost 24 hours of perspective behind me, I can tell you the true story of last night.

Matt and I got into an argument. It was stupid. I went to my room. We ate dinner. He enjoyed a rare, relaxing evening in front of the TV. I read a great book. Our dog got walked. We went to bed.

The end.

But who would read that blog entry?
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I will not be IGNORED, Koa!

I have the most wonderful dog in the world.

Koa is a purebred German Shepherd Dog that we adopted almost a year ago from the local animal shelter. Since the day we brought him home, he's been looking at us with those wise, sad eyes and patiently teaching us how to be good dog owners.

"Guys," he'll seem to say, as he takes his new ball outside and gently drops it on the grass. "Toys do not belong in the house."

If we feed him before we eat, he'll patrol the house, shooting us his patented you-should-know-better looks. "I do not eat before you. We eat at the same time. Remember?"

When we come home to a kitchen full of trash, he stares apologetically from his crate. "Listen, don't leave chicken bones in the trash can. I can't help myself, and I'd rather this not happen again."

Unfortunately, because we have the best dog in the world, we've also lost perspective when it comes to training him. So recently (after he's herded some neighborhood dogs a little too enthusiastically at the dog park and peed on a woman's foot), I've been stepping up my efforts to assert dominance over him.

As recommended by the training and behavior books I've been reading, this morning started with a long walk. Typically Matt and I are too lazy to actually walk our dog. We load him in the car and drive to the unofficial dog park up the street, where he can romp and play fetch until he flops over with exhaustion.

Today, though, I firmly held him on a short leash, and yanked (futilely; after all, he's 100 pounds of pure muscle) every time he reached over to sniff a new plant or curb. "Heel," I'd caution every 20 seconds or so. Then I spotted a house for sale, and wanted to check out the selling price. We trotted over, and I asked Koa to sit.

He looked away.

"Sit," I repeated (because maybe he didn't hear me).

He looked in the other direction. Then I realized what he was doing: Ignoring me! It's a dog thing: Apparently, if you're the alpha dog, you don't have to pay attention to all the other dogs if you don't want to. All you have to do if you want them to get up off of your grill is look away--physically ignoring them.

Oh, hells no.

I squared my shoulders, planted my feet and leaned over him ever-so-slightly. "SIT," I boomed.

This did not impress him, but he did flick an ear my way.


He sat.

I lavished him with attention.

But when we got to the dog park and I asked him to sit so I could take his leash off, the damn dog did it again! I felt my inner Glenn Close unleash.

"I will not be IGNORED, Koa!"

After a few minutes, he sat.

Good thing, too. I've got a pot of boiling water just big enough for his fuzzy, squeaky toy lamb. It's not a rabbit, sure; but I think he'd get the point.
Bookmark and Share

Monday, August 23, 2010

It pays to be a mediocre pie-maker

When we moved into our incredible rental home last year, I took note of the two enormous apple trees in the backyard, and rubbed my hands together like a silent-movie villain.

I kept thinking of all the wonderful apple baked goods I'd produce in the fall. So when one tree started producing, I duly waited until the green apples swelled and started falling off the tree before inviting a friend over for an apple butter/apple pie session.

Unfortunately, a few weeks later, those green apples turned red and crispy and sweet and slightly tart. And I realized I'd been had by Mother Nature, and possessed a cupboard full of Green Apple Butter.

This year, both trees are producing, and I know better. The tree that came up empty last year is positively loaded with sweet red and green beauties that can be munched on anytime. Lazy me, though, is no longer interested in winning life by making my own pie crusts. Thankfully, Trader Joe's anticipated that, and helpfully boxed up some premade ones for me.

So yesterday I decided to make Matt's favorite: Dutch Apple Pie. I pressed the premade crust into a piepan, tossed a few apples with sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg, then made an extra-crumbly crumble and spread it on top.

After 50 minutes in the oven, this pie took my breath away. It was everything a Dutch Apple should be. The crust browned beautifully, and the apples poking out here and there were crisped perfectly. The best part, though, was that the crumb layer caramelized into a crispy sugar crust that oozed down through the apple layers.

And me without my camera.

Unfortunately, though, this pie was too good. I had a piece. Matt finished off the pie (trying his best to scarf the last piece in the kitchen after I went to bed, so I wouldn't catch him).

My waistline thanks him.

My tastebuds are plotting against him.
Bookmark and Share

Friday, August 20, 2010

I've got it bad ... and it ain't good

I know for a fact that there are people out there whose vices are actually good things.

People like my brother-in-law, who supposedly can't go a day without a good, long run.

People like my sister, who consider watermelon a delicious dessert.

I, however, seem to be just one level above crackhead when it comes to my personal vices.

I like to eat frosting right from the container. I would eat bread for every meal if I could. I believe a slice of cake or pie is a perfectly acceptable substitute for breakfast cereal.

I have been known to eat three-day-old donuts, and for God's sake, don't leave any pastries lying around when I'm nearby. I will steal them.

But my latest vice astounds even me for its low-down, dirty nature. I'm only talking about it now because it will force me to give it up. So this morning will hopefully be the last time I will partake in it.

Coffee from 7/11.

It started out innocently enough. I had to be at a work event before 7 a.m., and didn't have time to make a Starbucks run. There's a 7/11 right down the street from my house, so I dashed in for a huge cup of coffee. I was pleased to note that they offered a hazelnut flavor, since I imagined their regular coffee would burn a hole right through my esophagus.

And right next to the hazelnut coffee was a French Vanilla cream dispenser.

I knew by the oily sheen on top of my extra-large cup that this was no great cup o'Joe, but what can you do? It was 6:45 a.m. on Saturday, and I needed a pick-me-up. I pumped my flavored coffee and cream full of sugar, then whipped out my debit card at the register.

Turns out I didn't need to do that, since a massive, steaming cup of 7/11 coffee is just $1.79. I paid for it with change, took my first sip and made a mental note that my beverage was probably made by DuPont.

But the next day, I found myself back at the scene of the crime.

Two days later, I picked up another cup.

This morning, I bought one more. Hopefully my last one.

I can't explain why. It's not great ... it's oily and chemical and I put so much flavored junk in it that it doesn't even really resemble coffee anymore.

But it's cheap. And it's sweet.

And undoubtedly bad for me on several levels. And probably lowering your respect for me by about five notches.

Do they have a rehab for bad taste?
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, August 19, 2010

All is lost

I have discovered that I can download episodes of my longtime obsession, "One Tree Hill," from iTunes ... for $2.

I am at least one season behind, and my cable provider does not carry the CW.

My heart is giggling with joy as I think of all the times in my day I can sneak away to spend time with Nathan, Hayley, Jamie, Skills, Mouth, Millie, Brooke and Julian!
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Peer Pressure

You know when your shower needs to be cleaned, but you don't want to do it?

So you pretend you don't see the muck and slime growing in the corners, then it gets worse and you ignore it more, until you have to spend three hours on your hands and knees battling black mold?

(Well, hopefully none of your showers get like that.)

That's been my relationship with the blog lately. It's so much easier to post to a message board, or Facebook, or anywhere at all. So I took a week off. That turned into a month or so, until I got so far behind that I considered scrapping this one and starting a new blog altogether.

Then a friend told me she'd added my blog to her reader, and that she was looking forward to staying updated.

Well, shoot. I can't very well ignore a vocal audience, can I?
Don't think it's just you, Blog, that's been ignored. Here's just a short list of items I'm woefully behind on:
  • Training my dog. He peed on someone at the dog park a few weeks ago, and I haven't gotten over it yet.
  • Meeting my neice. She's practically walking and talking now, and I haven't even said so much as hello.
  • Cleaning my shower. Don't judge me.
  • Seeing "Inception."
  • Canning the apples from my tree. Half of which have already fallen to the ground. Mostly I'm making my contribution to the deer population locally.
I haven't learned to play guitar yet, either. Or finished a baby blanket for the aforementioned niece.

I think the kindest way for me to describe my 2010 so far is that I've spent it hiding out. But, thanks to Kelsey, I'm back.

So ... what do you want to talk about? :)
Bookmark and Share