So, so suddenly

I enjoyed this Chicago Steak Seasoning so much that I've used it twice now, which is really saying something because I don't like cooking steak. Because I am bad at it.

The steak is still badly cooked, but now it is nicely seasoned.

Ivy has recently rediscovered the face painting kit she got for Christmas, which is really...intensifying her Suddenly Appearing Behind You game.


The four essential Cs

Yesterday was my birthday, which I tried to keep very low key, but I did make sure to consume the major birthday food groups: caffeine, cheese, cookie, and cupcake.

Starbucks has made it slightly harder to get your free birthday drink, but I compensated for the inconvenience by ordering two weeks' worth of coffee

A year of life that begins with queso is a year of life that can't be all bad, 99.9% terrible at worst

Look at these FANCY THINGS Regan gave me, you might think they are too pretty to eat but you are wrong I ate them just fine

Also thought you should know that Ivy has pioneered dipping tortilla chips into hot chocolate, all rights reserved, TM TM TM.


Fair enough

When asked what I wanted for my Mother's Day meal, I said "just use one of the spices." And so it was that we had chicken and vegetable skewers with Galena Street Rib and Chicken Rub and it was delicious in a way that only something you didn't have to make yourself can be.

I also suggested "and maybe use the grill," I don't want to give the impression I was being low-maintenance 

A genuinely touching tribute from my youngest daughter this year:

"I might fill it in later," she told me. "When I find out more about you."


I'm happy she's found her passion

I did use some spices this week, but way way way more importantly I made a bunch of desserts for Teacher Appreciation Week. Look how much more beautiful they are than real food. I might make this picture my phone background.

Clockwise from top left: Fruity Pebbles Treats, Double Chocolate Icebox cookies, Blondies with Cinnamon Chips, Key Lime Pie Fudge

"Music is, like, my life," Ivy announced four hours into listening to the Kidz Bop version of "Roar" over and over.


I'm trying to be best, is this what that is, lmk

I was not especially creative with my use of the Cajun Style seasoning, but who needs creativity when you have red beans and rice? I was worried this would be too spicy for my ever-so-delicate-tongued children, but all was well. I like that the blend has all the stuff I would normally put in red beans plus bonus spices like marjoram. And cardamom.

I try to treat my beans right

It was a boring, work-y weekend, but some of us really enjoyed Friday's rain.

Some of us did not.

She jumped up there just to bat down those stuffed birds, as though they had somehow caused the storm


Some misguided adulteration of carbohydrates

 More spices? Of course. Always.

For the Italian Herb Mix, I used one of the recipes from the Penzey's site, Crispy Herbed New Potatoes. Hard to go wrong with roasted new potatoes, but if I'm being entirely honest I'm not sure the Italian seasoning added that much to it. I just want that straight up POTATO flavor. Boil 'em, mash 'em, etc. etc. Going to give the Italian Herb Mix a shot in a different context.

At least I learned that cheese omelets garner appropriately rapturous feedback from my youngest child, who is very stingy with her rapturous feedback

I also experimented with the Mural of Flavor, which was a free sample that came with my free box of spices, what are you even doing Penzey's, you're crazy, I love you so much.

Here is the recommendation for how to use the Mural of Flavor seasoning: "Try it on chicken, fish, pork and beef. Add it to soups, rice and potatoes. Shake it over sliced tomatoes, corn, popcorn and scrambled eggs." So I threw a dart and hit "rice." It was...fine? Maybe I should stop putting fancy seasoning blends on things I like the plain taste of.

The true love of starchy white food is salt and salt alone, I should know this

Some sad personal news:

A cat semi-convincingly disguised as Easter candy:


I guess you could say she...favors curry

Next up on the free spice list: the curry powder, which I personally can't get enough of but I assumed would be a tougher sell to all the sub-five-foot individuals in the household, especially since all I did was mix about a tablespoon of it with some shredded chicken, diced tomatoes, and a bag of frozen spinach. Imagine my surprise when not only did no one complain, but Anna went so far as to add this specific meal to her hallowed list of Requested Dinners. A truly unexpected level of success for a meal that is, again, mostly a bag of frozen spinach.

The rest of the list in its entirety: 1) cheeseburger; 2) pasta with plain tomato sauce; 3) refried beans on a tortilla

Anna went camping with her Girl Scout troop this weekend, so Ivy had a couple of rare only-child days. I like to think she had a pretty good time on the playground, but I have a nagging suspicion she wanted us to take her to the beach instead.

We made do.


Jackfruit: nature's extremely mild prank

My experimentation with my new Penzey's spices continues this week, and possibly into future weeks, and maybe just until I use up all my nice free spices, who knows. First I put some of the Adobo Seasoning into these Jackfruit Tacos. Adobo: good. Jackfruit: weird. It has a texture like artichoke hearts but it looks disconcertingly like shredded meat, so if that's what you're in the market for you're in luck.

Way off to the side note: I had to abandon the original jackfruit taco recipe I was looking at because it kept referring to "tortillas" as "soft tacos" as though a tortilla is called a taco and I started to feel like I was losing my mind

I also sprinkled some Florida Seasoned Pepper onto pan-seared salmon. I really liked how the citrus element brightened the flavor of the fish.

"Too peppery" raved my children

Anna has been killing it at school this week with various presentations and entire stop-motion animation videos and such.

I find this especially impressive because I'm not sure how much I would accomplish if I attended a school with a mystical rock maze in the middle of it.

Like...not a ton


Should've taken them to Cake Vegas

My big box of free spices is heeeeeeeeeeeere!

I've never felt so rich, in 16th century Dutchman sort of way

First I used the cinnamon for some Morning Glory Oatmeal.

The whole point of this dish is to be bright and sunny so my advice is not to use such a deep bowl that it looks like it's at the bottom of a well

Then I used the suggested meatloaf recipe from the Ozark Seasoning card.

I wasn't quite sure what the Ozarks would taste like, but I thought it turned out great. It's a really nice savory flavor that complements the meat without overwhelming it. Of course, it is impossible to take a truly appealing picture of meatloaf, but here are a couple of attempts:

Maybe if I make it lean against the potatoes, all casual-like

Anyway, here are two children who BOTH managed to win a cake on their very first Cake Walk attempts.


On the other hand, it kind of feels like fifty years

Yesterday I was added to a Facebook group for my 20th high school reunion, which means I am now ten years older than Romy and Michele, which made me think I knew I should have deleted Facebook last month. Haha, no, it's fine, it's fine, death comes for us all, etc. Anyway, I made some giant cookies.

My first notification from that group involved a Pepe the Frog avatar, so it's all PRETTY PROMISING

Back on Wednesday, when I was still in the prime of my youth, I made some Sesame Cauliflower. It was good, although that might be because I added a bunch of cashews to it.

The fact that my children are entirely ready for the school year to end is reflected in their increasing loopiness at the bus stop. Sometimes, for example, Ivy is a sheep. Who eats grass.

If I go to the reunion this is the picture of her I'm taking