Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Today in First Grade, Mr Bunches' class had to write a persuasive letter (Life With Unicorns)

To Mom

We should go to Shopko. I want a Megarig big car build system. I will clean my room. I will help clean my kitchen.  I will wash your hands...

There is a triceratops. There is a golden necklace. I will play with it.


[Mr Bunches]


You have to admit, he makes a compelling argument.

(Sweetie says: "He had me at "To Mom." But then, she's a pushover.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I'd seem more excited except OH MY
Starting TODAY I am going to be a contributing writer to INKY Online Writers Magazine, which you can find by clicking that title.

Inky is a magazine that suits my writing style almost perfectly; the founder, Florence Molly, writes beautiful short stories and poems that touch on issues of life, death, love, and the intangible qualities of being that surround us all.  That's the kind of stuff I like to write about, too, and I hope I can live up to her standards.  I'll be contributing one story, poem, or article per month, and will try to let you know when that goes up.

It doesn't mean I won't be putting stuff on this blog, or my others, although I may slow down a bit on some of the other things, too.  I hope you'll bookmark and check out not just my stuff, but the other writers from that site, too.

And my first story is up there right now:  It's called

Q + U, as teenagers, and you can read it by clicking here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mac & Cheese Pizza: Delicious, or Gettheheckoutofhere? (A Photo Essay)

I began about 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon:

First step: Make the crust. The crust has to rise, you know!

Then get your noodles boiling! (No, that's not a euphemism. You need to boil your noodles.)

I'm not one of those people that's crazy about bacon.  It's okay. But let's not be ridiculous about it.

The recipe said to "saute" the bacon. I don't know what that is and whenever I try to actually fry bacon in a pan I end up filling the house with smoke.  So I use a method Sweetie taught me: I put the bacon in the oven and bake it. Turns out as crispy as you want it, every time.  She usually cooks it at about 250 F, but I cooked this at 450 because that's how hot the oven was supposed to be.  (The pizza crust boxes say to cook those crusts at 425 F, but I did 450, again, and they turned out PERFECT, so as with all recipes, feel free to ignore the parts you don't agree with.)

Whenever I cook something with onions, I always separate them out, as Sweetie doesn't like onions.  

That's because I am an awesome husband.

This was interesting. The base sauce for the pizza is all the butter from the onions, plus all the grease from the bacon, plus some flour for thickening, plus two cups of milk.  So this is what you start with:

And if you're me, you look at that and the directions that it has to be thick enough to stick to the back of the spoon and then you think "There's no way that two cups of milk is going to end up with a sauce that'll stick to the spoon" so you instead lighten up on the milk, putting about a quarter cup of it in, and then later on put in about three times the amount of cheese the recipe called for.

The recipe also called for store-bought bread crumbs. STORE BOUGHT? That's for suckers. You can make your own bread crumbs with some crackers and a rolling pin. Like this:

Then you just roll them until they are crumbs. That's how the pioneers did it, after all! (Let's ignore for the moment that the crackers are store-bought, as well, since these were technically leftover crackers from the deli platter we made for Christmas.)

Then it's back to the dough. You're going to want to put flour on your hands before you knead it. You're going to also not want to forget that fact and instead just stick your hand into the dough before going "Oh, yeah, flour up those hands first."

This was only about 1/2 the total dishes involved. I hadn't even put the pizzas in the oven yet.

Sweetie really liked my crust this time around.  Usually I monkey with the crust and try different things. I am, for example, trying to perfect a 'butter crust' based on having eaten one once in O'Hare Airport while we were waiting for a late-night flight to Washington, D.C.

But this time I just used the mix and floured it up.  I can make a pizza crust from scratch -- with yeast and everything -- but that's a lot of work and the boxes I use are like $0.50 each, so why bother?

Interlude: No Mac & Cheese pizza dinner is complete without homemade chocolate shakes courtesy of Mr Bunches!

We made two shakes, one for Sweetie and one for... I thought me, but Mr Bunches decided that he wanted it, so I only got one sip of the chocolate shake.  Life is not fair sometimes.

And the end result!

Sweetie's verdict: "Tastes good... could you make it with pizza sauce next time?"

It was a lot like a casserole with pizza crust, but still very tasty.

The recipe I worked off of is right here.  If I ever make it again, I'm going to mix some italian sausage slices into the mac & cheese.  But even without that it was delicious.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I have solved this problem, seriously. (Thinking The Lions)

This was always one of MY big complaints, too:

Because who wants soggy cereal? NOT ME. Not Linus, either.  I always felt like Linus and I were kindred spirits.

So what I used to do was use very very little milk, thereby ensuring that the bulk of the cereal would remain dry and crispy while allowing me access to milk, but nowadays my breakfast is about 113% likely to get interrupted by stuff, so one day I hit on this UNIQUE SUPERINTELLIGENT INNOVATION:

I put the milk in a cup and have it on the side.

So now if I have a bowl of cereal I eat it dry, with a spoon, and wash it down with ice-cold milk and I never ever ever have to look with a distasteful grimace at the sloppy glop that is Apple Jacks in warm milk.

Me: 1, Life: 0.  (Life probably has a few more points than that, actually.)