Category Archives: Food

Top Things That Irritate Me at Fast-Food Drive-Thrus

Good morning Everyone!

fast food window

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I use fast food drive-thrus far more than I should.  Here are some of the things that irritate me the most:

1)  The failure to follow simple rules of etiquette.  The words “please”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome” shouldn’t be considered archaic and outdated!

2)  Giving me a regular Coke when I ordered a Diet Coke.

3) Worse, giving me a Dr. Pepper or Diet Dr. Pepper when I have ordered a Diet Coke.

4) Those drive-thrus that deliberately plot against me by giving me the correct drink 20 times in a row than failing to give me the right drink the one time in 21 trips that I do not check the drink before I pull out of the drive thru.  (How do they know?)

Soda cup

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5)  When did ketchup and napkins become luxury items doled out in dribbles?

6)  Getting my order wrong.  Especially when I don’t realize it until after I have left the drive thru window.

7) Putting a sign up ordering me to turn off my windshield wipers when I pull up to the window.  I do it anyhow, of course, just to be polite, but I don’t appreciate being ordered to do so.

8)  Being called “sweetie”, “honey” or “darling” by people half my age.

Graphic Credit: All rights reserved.

Graphic Credit:
All rights reserved.

9)  Receiving a deluxe hamburger with only cheese and pickles on it when I asked for a deluxe hamburger with everything on it except cheese and pickles.  I think the cook who did that not only bore a grudge but a sense of humor.

10)  Asking me for my order, then only entering the first thing I say after I give you the entire order.  Then asking me again, only to enter the second thing I say while I give you the entire order.  Repeat ad nauseam.

Have a great day!



Good morning Everyone!

It’s really hard to believe, but we are already 1/12 of the way through 2015!  I have lots to share with you from the past month, but first I have to figure out how to download and coordinate pictures from three cameras taken in two states and one district.

This year, we did something very different for Christmas – we took a family vacation to Washington D.C.  We were there from December 24 through December 30 and had a blast!  Mark and Kayla had their cameras there, so I need to figure out how to get their pictures downloaded onto my computer.  (I’ll have to dive into the morass of cords in the electronics graveyard drawer.  Wish me luck!)  We went to Mount Vernon, Monticello, some of the Smithsonian, saw a play and had dinner at the Kennedy Center, had my birthday dinner in Georgetown and toured the Capitol building.

And we went by one of the many Tyson’s Corner shopping centers – how do they keep them all straight up there? – where the parking deck blew me away!  Each spot on the deck has a light above it – green if it is open, red if it is taken – so you can see far in advance where a spot is available.

Kayla participated in a bridal fashion show the first weekend of the New Year, so I have those pictures to download from the big Nikon.  She was lovely – and the dresses and other models were stunning, too!

I have finished my first novel and three edits of my first novel which I will write about another time.

We also camped near Mobile two weekends ago and went to the Alabama Battleship Memorial that Saturday.  Unfortunately, we forgot all three cameras that day, but I can still tell you about it!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I have been doing over the past month, give or take a few days, in addition to the regular round of daily living.

Have a great day!


Riddle Me This!

Good morning Everyone!

Here’s a favorite family riddle:


From Print Shop Professional 2.0
From Print Shop Professional 2.0






Boo 1


(Boo is one of Mandy’s nicknames.)

She looks very repentant when caught in the act, doesn’t she?


Have a great day!


Kayla’s Kitchen Kaper

Good morning Everyone!

Last night, Kayla asked me if she could fix the  Kraft Macaroni and Cheese we were having at supper and deciding it was time to loosen up on my Mac N’ Cheese obsession, I said yes.

I suggested to her that she might want to get the ingredients out before the noodles were done.   She told me that there weren’t any extra ingredients to the mac n’ cheese besides the packet from the box!  I told her she needed butter and to call me when she was ready to mix so I could give her the other instructions.

12 year old brain in training

That was my mistake – I gave a 12-year-old two tasks in one sentence.  Apparently, their brains can’t handle it.

Mark announced that the pork chops were almost ready.  I waited for Kayla to let me know she was ready to mix the stuff up.  Instead, this colloquy occurred.

Mark:  Did you drain that before you mixed it up?

Kayla:  Nobody told me too!

Me (from the den):  I told you to ask me when you were ready to fix it!

Kayla:  No you didn’t!

Mark:  Well, actually, yes she did.

Kayla (to me):  You could have told me that I had to drain it first!

Mark:  How many times have you watched Mom make mac n’ cheese?  Let’s see if we can save it.  Go ahead and get the colander out.

Silence, then Kayla to Mark:  It’s not funny!

Mark and I:  Well, actually, yes, yes it is.

I’ll omit the stories of parent’s pasts, which include attempts by Mark and one of his friends to make mashed potatoes without boiling them (his sister was removing random pieces of potato from the ceiling the remaining six years they lived in that particular house) and the absent-mindedness that caused me twice (years apart) to place my palm directly on a piping hot stove burner seconds after I had just removed the pan and should have known better.

It’s nice to know that Kayla is carrying on the family tradition!

Have a great day!


The Great Chicken Caper

Good morning Everyone!

Welcome to Mystery Investigations – Going to the Dogs, a new reality show that chronicles the investigations performed by our intrepid adventurer who refuses to stop until she has reached the truth.  Today’s episode features “The Mystery of the Missing Chicken.”

I brought home a serving of chicken and rice as takeout one evening, and unfortunately Mark did not like the chicken.  I went ahead and fixed him a can of soup, so while I was doing so, I placed the chicken plate on the kitchen counter and then forgot about it – until I brought the soup bowl back in the kitchen, where I found the following plate awaiting me:

Rice, Chicken dinner, left over food

The Plate With (or Without) the Missing Chicken!

While I am not a trained investigator, it was difficult to miss the fact that the leg and breast quarter that formerly resided on the plate was now missing. Even worse, it was completely missing – there were no left over bones lying on the kitchen floor, no grease anywhere, no chicken skin or spare pieces of chicken.  Not a single speck.

Since Kayla wasn’t home that night, we only had three potential suspects.

1) Our oldest dog, Tyra, an Australian Shepherd mix who is 10 years old.



2) Our middle dog, Mandy a/k/a Bad Dog, who is somewhere around 5, but I never can remember exactly how old she is.

Basset Hound Husky dog

Mandy, Our Husky-Basset Hound Mix

3) Our youngest dog, Darwin a/k/a No-No, who will be 3 on December 15.

Lab, Dog, Darwin


Using the time-honored method of means, motive and opportunity, Tyra was quickly eliminated. Not only is she completely blind, but even on her hind paws she would never be tall enough to reach the top of the counter.

That left me with only two suspects remaining, Darwin and Mandy. Both of them had the means – Darwin is tall, and Mandy is long. Both of them had a sufficient motive – cooked chicken apparently is a far cry better than Kibbles and Bits! Finally, both of them had opportunity, since they both were out of sight for at least some period of time while I was sitting with Mark while he ate his soup. So instead I had to turn to the less reliable and normally inadmissible realm of character evidence.

Dog, eating, counter

Character Evidence, Exhibit A: Mandy Leaving the Counter in our Old House

In court, evidence regarding a person’s character in the past is not admissible to prove guilt for the crime the person is currently accused of. There are exceptions to that rule, and I judicially decreed another exception for dogs who steal chicken off of the counter.

Reviewing the character evidence available to me, it was clear that the culprit was not Darwin, but Mandy.

First, Bad Dog did not earn her name unjustly. She likes to chew, will do so unabashedly and will pluck things off of a table or a counter in a heartbeat, as this video shows:

Second, before Mandy was found and put in the Montgomery Humane Society Shelter for Kayla and I to find her, she survived scavenging in the dumpster at McDonald’s, and probably other places as well.  She has still not forgotten how to scavenge, and isn’t afraid to practice her survival skills at a moment’ s notice.

Third, Mandy was the only dog who looked like this when an inquiry was made about the chicken:

Mandy, dog, husky  basset hound mix

Mandy post-chicken

Even without the post-chicken bone digestive problems the next day, I think I had an air tight case against her, don’t you?

Have a great day everyone!


Pickles and The Melting Pot

Good morning Everyone!

Consider, for a minute, the humble pickle.  How did a transmogrified cucumber come to be one of the standard items in most American refrigerators?

A dill pickle

A Dill Pickle

In our house, the word “pickle” means only one thing – kosher dill pickles, preferably made by Vlasic although we will settle for Mount Olive.  We have at least one family member (Kayla) who loves pickles just a bit too much.  The child actually drinks (when she can get away with it; both parents forbid her from doing it whenever we can catch her at it) the juice from the pickle bottle and would willingly include a pickle as a staple at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I know this because I caught her eating two large kosher dill pickles for breakfast the other day.

After I waved Kayla off her third helping of pickles that day, I started wondering about their history – how did someone discover how to take a cucumber and transform it into a pickle?  The answer, unfortunately, appears to be lost in the mists of time.  Pickling is an ancient form of food preservation, and as early as 4000 years ago, people in India were soaking cucumbers in a water/salt mixture with spices to make pickles.  The Romans learned about cucumbers and pickling from India, and carried the idea with them as they proceeded to conquer a good bit of the known world.

In most parts of the world, the term “pickle” refers to any food that has been preserved in brine, vinegar or in rare cases, a lye solution.  However, here, in both the United States and Canada, “pickle” most commonly refers to the dill pickle so beloved by my child, which is created by fermenting/soaking cucumbers in a briny mixture that include a lot of dill and some garlic, among other spices.

Julius Caesar, pickles

Julius Caesar, lover of pickles

A number of famous people have either liked or used pickles to their advantage – Julius Caesar is rumored to have liked pickles, while Christopher Columbus fed his sailors pickles to help ward off scurvy.  Pickles are mentioned twice in the Bible at Numbers 11:5 and Isaiah 1:8.

Vlasic kosher dill spears

Vlasic Kosher Dill Spears, Beloved by my Family

Vlasic pickles have been around since before World War II.  The original Vlasic entrepreneur, Frank Vlasic, came to America in 1912 from Poland.  He started a milk and cheese business, which his son, Joe, carried on.  Joe decided to expand the family business from just milk and cheese to include Polish pickles.  Vlasic pickles as a brand though did not truly take off until during World War II, when Joe decided to market his pickles in glass containers.  Now, Vlasic pickles are the top-selling brand of pickles in America.

American Melting Pot

American Mellting Pot

So, in one of those odd twists of fate we often find, a food invented in India,carried by Romans throughout Europe, carried by Europeans to the New World and perfected by a Polish immigrant’s son in the bustling city of Detroit became an All-American food that is a staple at American picnics and barbecues.  A better example of the concept of the American melting pot would be hard to design!

Have a great day!


Here I Blog Again….

Good morning, everyone!

I want to lose weight.

Actually, that statement is not quite true.  What I really want is to go to bed one night and wake up the next morning about 95 pounds lighter and looking like Sophia Loren, or the actress that plays Ziva David on NCIS and stay that way while I eat as many chocolate donuts, candy and cake  as I want.

NCIS, Ziva, Cote De Pable
Cote De Pablo from NCIS

It has occurred to me, after a couple of years of studying it, that it ain’t going to happen that way.  It’s just not.  And unfortunately, I am one of those people who have to do everything “right” in order to start losing weight.  By “right” I really mean I have to follow the complete package – food, exercise, lots of water, you name it.

Where I prefer to sit!

I also am singularly unmotivated to put in the effort and time required for the full lifestyle change that losing weight and then continuing to stay at a healthy weight and have good health habits permanently (translate that to “eat right and keep exercising”) takes.  I know what I should do, but I can’t seem to translate the “should” into “want to.”

I am, however, very motivated to write.  Signing onto my blog and sharing stuff with as many of you that care to read about it is something I really enjoy.

So, I have decided to combine the “want to” with the “have to” in a new blog, “Tales from the Mom-side:  Weight Loss Adventures” located at the cleverly named www.  ( was already taken.)  The hope is that the desire to write will outweigh the lack of “want to” with weight.

Pen, writing, blog

This new blog will be a little different from this blog.  It is going to be  more restricted in scope, really focusing on weight loss and health issues.  I probably will publish around one post a week, in which I will set forth my goal for the week, or share any useful information that I may have come up with during the week, or observations I have or whatever else about the “getting healthy” process that strikes my fancy.  It also will have a Twitter feed in the side bar, once I figure out how the heck to do that, where I will share “tweets” about temptations or observations or times when I have to make a choice related to my weekly goal.  That way, people interested in this new blog won’t get multiple posts on one day if I am having a particularly challenging day, but I still can share my thoughts with those who may be interested (and I freely admit that the pool of those interested may be a set of one – myself – but you never know).

I thought I’d start off with a really simple goal this week – eat breakfast at home every day.  By changing my customary driving breakfast of two-plain-biscuits-with-grape-jelly- and-three-chocolate-cookies-please at McDonald’s (the cookies are really for snack later) to the bagel/bread and peanut butter that I also like, I will save both money and calories.  Let’s see how I do!

All of which is very long way of saying “Here I blog again!”

Have a great day everyone!


How To Make Killer Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

Good morning everyone!

Swedish Chef from the Muppet show

The Swedish Chef, from the Muppet show

Today is a historic day for this blog, since it is the first time since I started it that I am going to share a (sort of) recipe with you.  And yes, the fact that it has taken more than a year and the 254th post before I got around to sharing one with you is a true reflection of my proclivities towards cooking.

In case the regular readers of this blog haven’t been able to tell yet, I really like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  (I might have mentioned this a time or two.)  For food that is meant to be convenient comfort food, however, I am very finicky about the kind that I use and the way that it is fixed.

Baby lambs

A picture of the new-born lambs up at thekitchensgarden taken just under a month ago.

Note to Celi at TheKitchensGarden:  I know you are already shuddering at the processed food this involves, but hang with me here anyhow!  For the rest of you who are wondering, Celi provides delicious recipes regularly on her blog, TheKitchensGarden, but does not use or fix processed foods of any kind.  I admire her for it, but am not yet inspired to follow her example.

Varieties of Kraft Macaroni 'N Cheese

Just a few of the bewildering varieties of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese now available.

First, you need to understand that all Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is not created equally.  For my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, you need the original, no frills, basic Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, original flavor, in the slim rectangular familiar blue and yellow box with the cheese in powder form.  You can usually recognize this variety by the label “The Cheesiest” printed across the bottom of the front of the box.

Original Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

The One and Only Incomparable Original Kraft Macaroni N’ Cheese

As basic as this type of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is – it is, in fact, the original Kraft Macaroni and Cheese – it may surprise you to learn that the test kitchens at Kraft have not yet discovered the best way to fix it.  I would have thought that someone would have stumbled onto this up there, but since it is not listed on the box, I have to take credit for the discovery myself.  Here is the recipe for truly fantastic Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Take 1 box of the original Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  Place enough water in a one or two-quart boiler (please do not use a larger pan) to fit the amount of macaroni in the box comfortably, and bring it to a boil.  Once the water reaches a boil, put the macaroni in the boiling water, reduce the heat from High if you have it on High to about 8 on your cooktop or range, and cook the macaroni for seven minutes only.

It is very important to remove the macaroni after seven minutes.  Too many more seconds after that, and the macaroni is too soggy and water-logged.

Drain the macaroni in a sieve quickly but fairly thoroughly, and return it to the boiler but away from heat.  Add 3 tablespoons of butter, sliced up, and the cheese packet to the macaroni and stir until the butter and cheese are well mixed up and melted consistently together.  Serve as soon as possible while hot, and do not store left overs, since this does not reheat well.

What you get is pure comfort food, with a delightful hint of sharpness in the cheese that you do not get if 1) the macaroni is over cooked and 2) if you add too much butter or any milk.

I have on one occasion made two boxes together at the urging of my mother; that turned out well, but I prefer to make a single box at a time when I can.  That way I can ensure the correct distribution of the cheese mix and butter over the macaroni.

If this seems a little too finicky for you for the preparation of a convenience food, I understand completely, but try it at least once.  I think you’ll agree with me that this is, in fact, the best way to make truly Killer Kraft Macaroni and Cheese!

Have a great day everyone!