Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Bliss for Now

We woke up to snow. The really swirly, blustery kind.

This can be a good or bad thing. Today? Way, way good. We had nowhere to be. We require at least one Home Day per week. This was it, baby.

Ruby spent the morning in her gymnastics leotard. I spent mine in all fleece, all the time.

 Before long, we were in a state of utter disarray.

And there was nuttin' good for lunch.

About lunch: I'm getting pickier and pickier about it. I can roll with the punches, but I really prefer not to. I'm good with a turkey sandwich. Left-overs. Etc... We had none of the above. The kids were going to have chicken nuggets with a sickening amount of ketchup. I just couldn't bear it.

So I fed them, then put some soup on for Mama while Silas finger-painted with his yogurt.

As the soup simmered, I decided that a grilled Muenster and avocado sandwich would be the perfect companion. But I was afraid that the kids might somehow know that grilled Muenster and avocado trumps frozen nuggets. It was a risk I wasn't willing to take. So I waited.

It was all rather accidental.

But the closer we got to nap-time, the more badly I needed to take myself out to lunch.

I used proper dishes and sat at the table. Not the desk. Not the couch. The plastic fold-up table. Because I'm worth it. (said in my best L'Oreal spokesmodel voice-over) I ignored the unfolded laundry and the books strewn across the floor and the hanging upside-down doll.

On a lark, I grabbed My Father's Daughter off the library pile and settled in.

I have a strange fascination with Gwyneth. She somehow comes across as both friend-next-door and snob-o-rama. Won't the real Gwynnie P. please stand up? Please stand up?

I'm intrigued by her past relationships. I remember when I was in college and she had her cool-as-snot short hair and Brad Pitt proclaimed her his "angel". That seems like it could be a little intimidating for any/all following suitors. Hold on, I'll ask Cory.

FPFG: Honey, would you be intimidated if Brad Pitt once called me "his angel" in a magazine interview?
CMB: (laughs)
FPFG: Ferreal.
CMB: Nope.
FPFG: Nope?
CMB: Why would he say that?
CMB: Ohhhh!
CMB: I would expect him to say that if he dated you.

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried, people. Not the weird confused part or the really sweet part.

I still think it would be weird though. I'm sticking to it. What say you, Ben Affleck? (I'm not ashamed to say it: I own Bounce on dvd.) Luke Wilson? (I like the guy. I just do. He's down-homey.)

Remember the pink Ralph Lauren Oscar gown that she rocked sans unnecessary uh... padding. I gotta tell you, I was endeared.

But then there was the whole BFF with Madonna thing. And the fake British accent thing. And the Shallow Hal thing.

I was torn.

Am torn.

Until round about 1:10 today.

I liked her book. She loves food and she's passionate about feeding her family well. She seemed really normal and mostly relatable and I liked all of her white shirts and yes, she's got very toned arms and now, I'm happy to report to her and you and the rest of the world that I am her new secret, pretend BFF!

Step off, Madonna.

I did have one concern, and it's important. She never, ever, not a single time, mentioned her husband, Chris. This is not good, Gwynnie. Not good at all. Why can't he be a "heart of your artichoke", along with Apple and Mosey? There's room for one more. Right? Hasn't he written songs for you? Didn't he rap about your boobs when you were pregnant??

(They are still together - right? Have I somehow missed an important link on the chain of her love life? Yes, I could Google it. But I trust you more.)

Anyway, Gwyn. We can discuss this further the next time you have me over for your warm tuna nicoise salad.

Mario Batali writes in the forward of her book:
And when the food, and its preparation, becomes so much more than mere nourishment, when it becomes entertainment and folly and libidinal pleasure all rolled into one thing? At that point every meal, every snack, every shared moment of sustenance can be a celebration.

Sitting there clanking my spoon against the bowl in the relative peace and quiet of that solitary hour, I couldn't have possibly agreed more. Except about the libidinal pleasure part, because that's just taking the food thing too far.

 :: :: :: ::

FPFG's Quick-Lunch Soup
Saute garlic and chopped onion in a little warm olive oil.
Add some chicken stock or broth and one can of Italian diced tomatoes.
Throw in some dried basil and oregano and black pepper.
Bring to a boil and add some pasta. The bow-ties are prettier, I'm not gonna lie.
Cook until pasta is soft (I overdid it a bit today) then add a can of rinsed Canellini beans.
Top with grated parm.

I prefer to throw in something green like fresh spinach, zucchini, kale, etc... But desperate times call for desperate quick-lunch soup. It was still very good.


  1. I sort of like her too.
    The accent is killer.
    Husbands should be mentioned. At least by chapter 3. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
    PS I would love to name my baby Pear : )

  2. Have you seen Country Strong?...I started being a Gweneth fan then. Mario writes like he might have some food issues...just sayin'

  3. I need you to know that I pledged my undying love to Canellini beans a few weeks ago.

    I think deep down I've always known. I just had to go ahead and make it official.

    E and I are pondering crashing a house this weekend... or pretending we will anyway. You should come.


  4. If you call that teeny tiny mess utter disarray, I don't think Webster has a word to describe what our house looks like by lunchtime...

  5. "On a lark..." Good phrase. Not used nearly enough. You may have just inspired me to use it more. I'll try to through it around, in normal conversations, on a lark, when the mood strikes.

    Yes, I read the whole post, soup, your new BFF, the cuteness of your kids, and yes those 3 little words are what snagged my attention.

    On a lark, of course.

  6. she sings. she acts. she's drop dead pretty. she cooks. i mean. all i want to do is make one good meal a week that actually turns out right. but that's asking too much?! God must have spent a little more time on the G girl... said in my best *nsync voice.

  7. Remember Sliding Doors?...loved her hair. I took her photograph into my hair gal. It looked better on her. Your lunch looked fab. You are worth it. Funny that upside down doll was the first thing I noticed.

  8. I once read a Chris Martin interview and the guy asked him about Brad Pitt, really!?! So weird and awkward! I totally remember her hair in Sliding Doors! I once tried the short cut, not a good look. I thought I'd look like her or Faith Hill in the late 90s. Not a good move. I'm adding her cookbook to my amazon wish list now.

  9. Did you not have any leftover banana bread to eat for lunch? ;) Lunch is always a dissapointment for me. Kids are golden with pb&j, mac-n-cheese, whatever really. But me? I need more. Maybe i'll make your soup tomorrow. That is after I venture out in the blustering cold to buy the ingredients. Wish me luck.

  10. I like your soup recipe and your fancy lunch at the table! Is that grilled avocado & muenster on WHITE bread???? I need it this moment at 10:35pm. That makes me sad about the blow off of nice, sweet, sensitive Chris Martin.....I like to think that they are one couple in Hollywood that has it right. Jeez Gwynnie! What's a guy gotta do to get a mention???

  11. I have always loved Gwynnie. I was the only one of my friends that did until recently. Her Glee episodes have made some of my friends like her, and now this cookbook. Welcome to the club!!

  12. You crack me up!!! I couldn't name 5 movie stars if my life depended on it.Now ask me 20 reasons why people should be more responsible pet owners and I could give you 50. But I do love your spontaneous cooking ideas. You could cook for me any day. I also wish I could take credit for your skills.

  13. I love GP!! She once said she will never mix work with her husband which is why you will never see them on the red carpet together. I respect that.

  14. Oh wow. The first thing Becky and I have in common besides Jesus: I love Gwyneth's hair in _Sliding Doors_, too. I really love Gwyneth in Duets. And in general.

  15. I see how it is, Farmgirl. You're worried about Gwynnie and Chris, but nary a concern for Landry and Tyra? Or Timmy and Lyla? Or Timmy and Tyra? Or Mindy and Billy? Or Matty and Julie? Or....dare I say it.....Eric and Tami? (And believe me, you should be concerned. I didn't want to say anything about it, but really, FPFG, this has gone on long enough.)
    Put Glenn and her Damages aside (have you seen what that woman does to bunnies?) and get yourself caught up before I strip a gear.

  16. I'm frienemies with Gwynnie too. I love her mostly. But then, she posts things on Goop about basic wardrobe items that cost more than my, ahem, whole wardrobe and I get super annoyed. But then she does a food tour of Spain and I'm like, I love you! I would totally own Bounce, probably on VHS, if I ever remembered I want it when I'm at Half Price Books. Loved that movie. Gwynnie and Ben, how I wanted them to get married when I was in college. Have you seen View From the Top? Awesomely awesome.

  17. Loved Sliding Doors too. I thought she only ate some macrobiotic diet. Whatever that is and I really don't want to know! Also Brad Pitt sucks, IMHO.

  18. I'm not eating that.
    I've never been a gwenyth fan. did I spell her name wrong? it looks wrong.
    I love to eat when the kids are asleep.

  19. i have always loved friendy-snobby gwyneth. so naturally, i love you even more now.
    also, your food makes me hungry.

    sleep tightly! xo

  20. So much I love about this post! Muenster and avocado sounds amazing, and I feel totally torn about Gwyneth as well (snob or bff? hard to say). And snow?! Mostly the snow I am jeal about :)

  21. As someone whose blog is called "Use the Good Dishes!", I heartily approve of your lunch choices in every way! And that sandwich combo is one I'd never thought of, so it's on my list for this weekend! Thanks!

  22. With Gwyneth it is definitely a 'don't hate me because I'm beautiful' sort of situation. I try not to deeply dislike the fact that she looks so dang good no matter what. Does the woman not age?! Do her children not cause stretch marks and premature wrinkle-age? It's a mystery. One I will likely never understand.
    Glad to see you're feeling a little less blue. Tough times when the Daddy is away and things go haywire. This I know too well. Good food helps, even when brought to you by Gwyneth.

  23. I would come to your house for LUNCH ANY day of the week! Yummy!

  24. Grilled avocado and muenster sandwich--WHY have I never thought of this combo? My walmart better have some muenster. And I hear you on Gwyneth! I've always had the same conflicting feelings toward her. When she won in that pink dress and was bawling, I was bawling too. And yet? The aloofness. Not sure what to make of her.

    I have never heard food referred to as "libidinal pleasure." That is just weird and gross and let's keep all things libidinal in the bedroom...bringing it into the kitchen is a bit creepy.

  25. The fact that you own Bounce on dvd confirms something that I already knew about you: we are kindred spirits. Soup looks delish!

  26. I wish I were more interested in cooking like you are.


    My hubby is the cook. Thank GOD for that because although I can feed myself, it's not half as good as the stuff he comes up with.

    I think I'm going to buy Gwyneth's cookbook for him/us based on your recommendation.

    I also find it weird that she didn't mention her hubby (I think I kind of noticed that a while back while perusing the book at a store)and never does. Whatevs.

    And what the heck with "Libidinal"? I enjoy Mario but I can't lie: Watching him make food on TV and seeing him always makes me think "future heart attack." I've always felt that way about my beloved Paula Deen as well. And now she's diabetic. I know Gwyneth is healthy...I assume most of the recipes are as well.

    Your convo with Cory regarding your "possible" dating of Brad Pitt pre- Cory: hilarious.

    You are comedic gold, you always make me laugh!

    Peace out. I'm in fleece and it's snowing here!

  27. I have that cookbook, and I am so refreshed to see that you put into words EXACTLY how I feel. So now you are my secret, pretend BFF.

  28. I'll admit. I've been more than a little concerned about Gwyneth and Chris for some time now. Ever since she became country strong and started singing duets with that show choir teacher on Glee. Anyway. I'm glad you set the table for yourself. And the next time I venture out into the January cold, I am so buying myself some supermarket tulips.

  29. She loves food? No wonder she named her daughter Apple! :)

  30. The whole concept of randomly creating food that actually ends up tasting good is so foreign to me. It's never really worked out that way for me. I'm going to try this because it seems like something even a kitchen-moron could handle. And I'm nothing if not a kitchen moron.


  31. that soup will be made this weekend.
    i have all the ingredients. yay.

    i haven't looked at the cookbook.
    there are about 6 that i want to purchase for my home, but somehow they just never quite make the cut when the paycheck comes around.

    happy weekend.....

  32. Well, this just makes me want to plop on down next to you and have a bowl and dish about Gwyn. Pass a muenster over this way please.

    So glad you squeezed in some quiet.

  33. I love your take on Gwenie. I totally agree with the way you have sized her up! I like her too...but think I shouldn't? Too funny! Lunch looked great! It beat my white bread ham and turkey sandwich..blech! BTW- loved your comment about your plastic table. Laughed out are worth it!


  34. I have to weigh in and not having read all the comments, don't know if I'm repeating someone...
    well I have a bestie from childhood who I know completely.
    My phone-a-friend who really does know everything.
    She gave of herself and gave and gave but never received. Nope, nothing
    for J. Finally she had to go into the hospital...a mental one.
    Whoever is reading...I hope you will do whatever it takes to preserve your spirit. Selfish people gag me, sadly...but there is a necessity to take care of self. J is mostly healed and understands now that she is deserving of happiness too. Thank God! Bless your very bones, Shannan. Seasons do go toddler raising days are such a blur Haha and I'm laughing over those old stopped up commodes now!

  35. I love Gwyn. I want to check out her cookbook. And I am very upset with her for leaving her husband out. How is that family togetherness? Are she & Mario having an affair?
    I love the sound of your soup, lady!

  36. i never liked her until shakespear in love.
    now i adore her.

    love alvacado on grilled cheese. i use real cheddar tho, will a little red onion and mayo. yes, honest-to-goodness, whole fat, mayo. on grilled cheese. must be the southern in me. :)

  37. I always love your lunch ideas. My experiments tend to fail miserably!

  38. I made your quick-lunch soup for dinner last night. Delish. The avacado and grilled cheese however, were sorely missed.

  39. ok my new favorite post, I was cracking up over here, and now I am just going to go ahead and proclaim you my new secret, pretend bff :)

    ps-I think they're still together, during Jack's speech therapy 2x/week I read every people magazine and so far I have not read of a break up, I know I should bring something with me to read, but oh well, it passes the time! :)