…….and before that, Jonathan TAYLOR Thomas. But, let me get to the post.
[Warning: My mind is EVERYWHERE, as I have just spent approximately 14 hours alone in a car over the past three days and have fully realized that in less than two weeks I will be officially moving to Austin...so I apologize if this is a crazily haphazard post of random information! Oh wait. Aren't all my posts like that?]
Hey y’all! I’m back in Virginia!
I actually made it back pretty early this afternoon, but the gym was calling my name, as well as the grocery store, where I overbought produce (as usual)…and then I came home and unpacked, made my breakfast and lunch for tomorrow…you know how it goes.
–Wait, Sarah. I just did the math. Didn’t you just wake up at 4:30 and 5:30 AM on a holiday weekend and spend nearly 14 hours in the car, just to see your family for less than 48 hours? --Yes. Yes, I did.
–You’re insane. Why would you do that?
–Umm….have you met them?
Do you ever find that as you get older and you get to spend time with your family less often, you realize just how awesome they are?
Yeah. Me too.
I apologize for not being more explicit in my descriptions of our “eats” last night. We did, in fact, dine on burgers ‘n brats. The brats, of course, in true midwestern style, were boiled in beer and onions prior to hitting the grill.
My plate was delectable and delicious. It included a beautifully cooked brat (sans bun for me, but with lots of onions on top!) baked potato [definitely love me some sweets, as you know, but every now and then, an old fashioned Idaho is just what you need ], some leftover crudite and a bit of my Spicy Sweet Shrimp Cocktail left over from our appetizers/hors d’oevres, some of Faye’s Cilantro Slaw….and I may have “accidentally” taken not one, but four sliced pickles. There is a nice healthy drizzle of ketchup all over the top, and some Parmesan on the potato you can’t really see.
The most fun was discovering how yummy the shrimp cocktail and the cilantro slaw were when mixed together….like a fiesta in my mouth!
Well, I mentioned to Faye how delicious it was, and she said, “Oh, just take it with you. In fact, take any of the Penzey’s spices you want. All of those are duplicates of ones we already have at the house anyway.” [Seriously. I told you they are the sole reason that company is still in business.]
So…after only about 5 seconds of (quite fake) hesitation…I did.
The spices were so excited to be brought back to The Smart Kitchen that they decided to demonstrate one of their cheerleading pyramids for you.
I know, I know…I’m supposed to be reducing and not acquiring in the kitchen. (Yeah, Sarah, remember when 5.4 seconds ago you mentioned the fact that you have less than two weeks left in your house?) However, these spices are coming with me. Fancy spices = fun for Sarah. I don’t care what you say. They are little, and I can just throw them into random pockets of space in the back of the car if I have to. [Although hopefully if I do end up having to do that they don't break open and we end up with an herbal, overdose-of-spicy-scents situation. I imagine having cayenne pepper or jerk seasoning fumes flying around in the enclosed space of a moving vehicle could do a number on one's senses....and make for a rather uncomfortable road trip.]
As I may or may not have mentioned and/or alluded to, I left super early this morning from Ocean City to head back to Charlottesville. [This was sort of by choice, and sort of not...since I have been cursed with inability to sleep in, even on vacation...I was up and at 'em by 5:45, and, therefore, ready to go by 7.]
I did have time to pack snacks, of course. [You know I am the queen of travel snacks!] but before we get to breakfast and snacks…I obviously had to make a stop at Wawa for coffee. [Yes, a huge selling point of the beach house is its proximity to Wawa. Yes, this was the fourth time I went to a Wawa over the weekend. But y'all...there are no Wawas in Texas...I needed to say goodbye...]
Yes, Frog still lives in my car. No, I do not speak to him. [Although occasionally I think I hear him singing along to the radio.]
For breakfast, I took the same hodge podge mix of cereals from breakfast yesterday, and put them in a little container. [That would be Kashi Strawberry Fields, Kashi GoLean Crunch!, Nature's Promise Organic Raisin Bran, and a few little Cracklin' Oat Bran circle-squares....which OH MY GOLL Y'ALL, I always forget are so good. Clearly I cannot have a box in my own kitchen because they are so not the best thing for you in the world...but YUMMMMMMMM.]
I also found some already cut strawberries in the fridge! Yum! (And no work for me.)
The remaining yogurt from yesterday’s breakfast merger found it’s way into the car as well.
All together…a CFY (Cereal, Fruit, Yogurt) To Go!
Perhaps slightly dangerous to eat in the car, while driving…but….it was really good…
Later in the morning, I ferociously attacked this Pink Lady apple (I’m surprised I was even able to take a photo of it really)…
…and since it is Memorial Day, which most people consider the “unofficial” start of summer, I thought I should have a mini celebration of the winter season. Because, well, why not? [And I have an incredible/insane/absurd amount of such bars stockpiled in my pantry.]
[By the by...I love the Clif Bar seasonal flavors (Iced Gingerbread, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pear Struedel, or maybe it's Streusel...I can't remember. Either way. Yum-tastic.) and have so many because I had the desperate "never going to be able to buy them again" panic around Christmas two years ago and bought a bunch. Then, lo and behold, they reappeared this year...and for some reason, I had the same panic, despite the fact that my previous experience would indicate they will be seasonal flavors every season.]
A little later on…it was clearly time for more snackage. I had confiscated the leftover peppers from my Spicy Sweet Shrimp Cocktail, and nibbled on a few of those. [Despite the fact that in this photo the red peppers look like a scary, demonic hand that reminded me of a ghost story from when I was younger where a hitchhiker jumped on some woman's car and scratched his way inside. I reminded myself that I had cut these peppers myself and they were not actually a person's fingers. But still. It was creepy.]
That did not do much for me. I didn’t eat them all, but I got peppered out pretty quickly. I knew I wanted to stop at the gym on my way home, since it was on the way, and once I got home, I’d never go back, but my only visible sustenance option was yet another Clif Bar. [And although I could definitely eat more than one a day, I don't think that's necessarily a smart habit to get into.] But then…a shocking surprise!
Turns out, I had squirreled away a snack pack of my signature blend trail mix (made especially for me by…well, me) into my backpack and forgotten about it (of course). Perfect! Almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, orange-flavored cranberries, and golden raisins. Scrumptious.
Because I’m an honest person, and I don’t want to hide anything from you (well, except for those secrets I’m not allowed to tell under penalty of death by SD-6…and if you get that reference, you are awesome), I am going to show you something else I consumed that you will have to pretend you didn’t see.
Oh yes, a road trip Diet Coke. (Sigh) I love you cola carbonation, but I must bid adieu for awhile….
In random, non food-related news…I spent much of the car trip back doing something I highly recommend for long road trips: creating the “ultimate top ten” for your favorite band. Or any band of which you happen to have at least 10 songs on your IPod or on CD in your car. Or any band that has ever recorded 10 songs.
My favorite band is, as I have mentioned before ad naseum, Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers…
…but, oddly, I was being haunted by the ghost of Taylor Hanson’s hair while driving down 29, and my thumb, as though driven by ethereal force, turned to the Hanson repertoire on my “pod.”
I have professed before my very real, if not love, than enjoyment, for them, or at least for 20-30 of their songs, and I am not embarrassed* to tell you that I spent at least an hour and half listening to Hanson and conducting an internal debate about which songs were their top ten of all time. This was actually not too difficult, as I only have about 20-30 Hanson songs, and I could immediately cut out any time they let Ike or Zac sing because although it was nice “That’s precious…you wrote a song and the record label is letting you sing it!” moment, we all know everyone was thinking, “Go back to the guitar and drums, and put that mic back on Taylor’s piano.”
*My friend Katie once tried to make fun of me by telling someone in our mutual presence that I still listened to Hanson. I was not ashamed. There is no shame in loving what’s lame! [This is a corollary to Smart Kitchen Rule #8: Don't Yuck My Yum]
Conveniently, their new CD (start making your “I LOVE U TAYLOR!!!” t-shirts now) comes out a week from Tuesday, meaning from now, until then, I will be presenting you with a Hanson song of the day.
Why? Because we all need a little silly in our lives, don’t you think? And I want to. So there. Just be happy *NSYNC isn’t coming out with a new CD. Then you’d have to suffer through a top 25 at least.
Today you get TWO Hanson songs of the day, so that it all works out perfectly and the day of the CD release lines up with the big reveal of #1.
Hanson’s Top Ten, according to the Granola Goddess/Crudite Queen
10. “Sure About It”–little known song in which Taylor and Co. make references to depression, cocaine, and men in trench coats. Also features the line “I’m definitely sure that I’m not sure,” which, somehow, resonates deeply with me.
9. “What Christmas Means to Me”–umm…I don’t know how it can’t make you smile, even in May. [This, "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" by *NSYNC, and "Santa Can You Hear Me" by Britney Spears compose a mighty triumverate of 90s Christmas Pop pleasure]