A Glimpse into Halloween Futures

I frightened myself on Halloween. Scared myself enough to talk a neighbor into planning a Haunted House for next year.

What could have been so startling?

imagesI forgot to carve a Jack O’lantern, The Boy was at a weekend retreat and The Girl still away at college.

“Boo hoo hoo,” cried the sad mom!

I can’t remember a year where I didn’t carve a pumpkin… even when I was in college I still lived at home and had fun passing out candy for my parents. They were quite done with the doorbell as the average age and height of the Trick-or-Treaters kept increasing and increasing.

imgresGood rule of thumb, people: if you can shave, you probably shouldn’t be on the receiving end of Halloween… it’s tons o’ fun to fill the kiddie’s bags and set up haunted houses for the neighborhood, too.

Next year I will be ready… I’m jotting down ideas for decorating and clever trick to share with our neighborhood’s little ones. A smaller child-friendly spooky yard display would be good for the kids around us. Share ideas? What should I have for a non-terrifying haunted house next year? It was scary enough not having my own two children around for the first time in 18 years. BOO!


(Found all these photos by doing web search for “sad Jack O’Lanterns.” Click any photo to go to their original site!)

New Spice- Hot Mustard Powder, And Italian Egg Roll Geniuses…

What's going back to the store? THIS stuff. Yechhh!
What’s going back to the store? THIS stuff. Yechhh!

Let’s get this review out there, right away: I wanted to scrape my tongue free from the residue of this vile paste. When we tried a small taste, I wanted to spit, but International Guy looked betrayed, “This stuff used to come in packets with your frozen ‘egg rolls’ when you were a kid?” Now I’m sure he is thinking terrible things about what Americans will let their children have access to via their kid’s frozen snacks.

As a matter of fact, there is no more American story than that of the founder of the company that made the favorite frozen egg rolls of my youth: Jeno Paulucci. The Italian frozen food genius.

From his 1993 obituary in the Washington Post:

83d5ae9cbe7f2014798c3210a7fdeb2c“His first great success was a company called Chun King,” Ford said during his dinner address. “What could be more American than a business built on a good Italian recipe for chop suey?”

Luigino Francesco Paulucci was born July 7, 1918, in Aurora, Minn. His father was an iron miner and his mother, Michelina, ran a grocery out of the family home. During Prohibition, his mother sold bootlegged wine and also ran an illegal bar. After selling Jeno’s to Pillsbury, he founded Luigino’s and started the Michelina’s brand of Italian foods, named for his mother.

Taste Testing… Korean Pork and Potato Stew

"Korean Brand Pork and Potato Stew"
“Korean Brand Pork and Potato Stew”
Yea! Instructions in English, too...
Yea! Instructions in English, too…

A few months ago we picked up a frozen stew that was recommended to us by a friend of The Girl. After he promised that it would not be rocket-hot spicy, I was game.

I figured it would be good if served with some rice, so, while the rice cooked in my steamer (a laughably small steamer, according to our resident rice expert International Guy), all I had to do was heat up the stew in a micro-safe dish.

Smells pretty good...
Smells pretty good…

Between The Husband, International Guy and me, we all decided that it isn’t too bad. It’s not too great, either. I think it would be good choice if you had a cold- just enough spicy heat to help clear your head. The potatoes didn’t fare too well with the defrosting, as potatoes are wont to do. But, the broth had a decent flavor. The pork smelled great, but was stringy and dry. And it was more of a soup than a stew- no need to serve over a rice or noodle.IMG_8723

Li'l Turtle Dude says "Go ahead, try something new today!"
Li’l Turtle Dude says “Go ahead, try something new today!”

Overall, I’m game enough to try one of the other flavors by this brand… but then again, I’m making myself get around to trying new things for the fun of it. I can say that I highly recommend trying new things for no reason in particular.

And Now For Something Completely Different…

Sat down to watch the morning news and scroll through the Facebook feed on my phone only to glance up and discover that my thoroughly indoor cat, Hell Kitty, knows how to open the screen door:

According to her, “Couch Time is Our Time.” If I wasn’t going to pay attention to her she was going to take care of her own entertainment, I guess! She has now spent the rest of the news broadcast on my lap and occasionally right up in my face.

Hey! No stray cat strutting allowed!

Pumpkin Extravaganza Continues- Tasting Trader Joe’s Waffles

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Waffles
Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Waffles are here for the season!

Pumpkin waffles crisp and warm from my toaster oven… waiting for my maple syrup and candied nuts (inspired by the box top).

IMG_8599No pie spices, so you can sprinkle on your own. But they do pack a big pumpkin-y flavor.

I like these waffles, and would definitely buy this product again.


The Boy came downstairs, however, and politely turned down these waffles and asked if he could instead destroy my kitchen make waffles from scratch. The Delicious Level of his creations are directly proportional to the Remaining Mess in the kitchen.