Butterscotch Sundae http://www.butterscotchsundae.com Wed, 20 Sep 2017 01:52:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 40717483 In which I accidentally ordered Blue Apron (and I liked it) http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/in-which-i-accidentally-ordered-blue-apron-and-i-liked-it/ http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/in-which-i-accidentally-ordered-blue-apron-and-i-liked-it/#comments Wed, 20 Sep 2017 01:49:00 +0000 http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/?p=17837 A kind friend recently sent me a free trial offer for Blue Apron. I am a big fan of food and an even bigger fan of food arriving on my doorstep, so I gave it a try.

The free trial box came with two meals — Barramundi & Tzatziki Sauce with Summer Vegetable & Freekeh Salad and Soy-Glazed Pork & Rice Cakes with Bok Choy & Marinated Green Beans — each of which was meant to feed a family of four.

I don’t normally cook fish, because I don’t like the way it makes the house smell and also I’m not very good at it but that’s probably because I never make it. I put the barramundi on the menu anyway, though, because it was a free meal that was coming to my house and I thought, “Hey you can do this.” But then I chickened out and gave the whole barramundi kit to my sister-in-law, who took it to her parents’ house and presumably made and ate it there.

I did not, however, give away the Soy-Glazed Pork meal, even though I was a little wary about it, too. I don’t eat a lot of pork. But I’m very glad I made it because it was delicious. The sauce had a lovely, rich color and flavor, and the rice cakes were nice and chewy. I’m holding on to the recipe card so I can make it again, even though I have no idea where to find Korean rice cakes.

I loved having my groceries delivered to my door, and I love all the little pre-portioned spices and the tiny bottle of soy glaze (but I also sort of hate that because it was a ton of packaging). That delivery needed to be the end of our Blue Apron adventure, though, because (1) I can’t afford to spend $80 on two meals every week and (2) there’s no way to say “Hey I Can’t Eat Dairy Please Don’t Offer Me Dairy Meals.”

But that wasn’t the end. Oh no it was not.

I tried to log on to Blue Apron’s website to cancel my trial membership, and I couldn’t remember my password. So I hit the appropriate button and waited. And continued waiting. And waited some more, and hit the button again, and never got a reset email. Eventually I contacted their support team, and they helped me cancel my membership even though they couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting the password email.

But the next box was already on its way, and there wasn’t anything they could do about that. I wasn’t extremely pleased but it wasn’t their fault that I’d waited too long to contact them, and of course this meant there would be more food showing up on my doorstep which is pretty OK even if it was an accident.

So the accidental box arrived, and do you know what was in that box? More fish! As we have previously noted, I don’t normally cook fish, because I don’t like the way it makes the house smell and also I’m not very good at it but that’s probably because I never make it. I put the salmon on the menu anyway, though, because it was an expensive meal that was being delivered to my house and I thought, “Hey. Hey! You can do this.”

And I did.

Seared Salmon & Tomato Fondue with Fennel Rice & Carrots

Blue Apron’s Seared Salmon & Tomato Fondue with Fennel Rice & Carrots was by far the fanciest meal I’ve ever made in Rockford’s absence. The kids and I usually eat very, very simple meals (i.e., cereal, sandwiches, etc.) when he’s out of town, because it’s very discouraging to expend a lot of effort on a meal that no one will eat. But I was feeling courageous about cooking fish so I knew I needed to go ahead and make it before I lost my nerve.

I made a rather impressive mess, but it was also a rather impressive meal. I left the fennel, garlic and almonds out of the kids’ portions of rice because I wanted Poppy to eat something without complaining. I didn’t love the fennel, but it didn’t ruin the dish. The carrots were really simple — just tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and then roasted — but they were my favorite part of the meal. It was a good reminder that I don’t have to serve steam-in-the-bag veggies with every meal. I managed to cook the salmon well, although it could have used a bit more seasoning, and the tomato fondue — tomatoes and garlic in a butter sauce — was delicious. (Please note that I’m aware that butter is a dairy product, but I haven’t had any trouble with it so it’s still in the picture.) Pete enjoyed the whole meal, and Poppy suffered through it.

The second meal in my accidental box was Chicken Tinga Tacos with Lime Sour Cream & Cotija Cheese. I made it last night for my dad, his girlfriend, the kids and myself. They were very simple to make and really delicious, so much so that I forgot to take a picture of them to share with you.

In conclusion, I am a fan of the Blue Apron box and I wish I could continue to subscribe to it because it is simple and delicious but I just can’t afford it.

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The best-laid menu plans http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/the-best-laid-menu-plans/ http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/the-best-laid-menu-plans/#respond Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:38:00 +0000 http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/?p=17767 I’m having my gallbladder removed on Wednesday, so dinners this week are a bit up in the air. Here’s my plan, but I’m going to be out of commission and sipping broth for most of the week so it may actually be Taco Bell every night.

Monday: Chicken Tinga Tacos
This is from a Blue Apron meal kit, which I will tell you all here.

Tuesday: Barbecue
My dad is in town for a few days, and there’s a very strong chance we’ll be going out for barbecue because that’s his favorite thing to do.

Wednesday: Jello and broth
Well, I’ll be having clear liquids. My sister-in-law is delivering dinner for the rest of the crew.

Thursday: Frozen pizza
It’s Poppy’s favorite meal!

Friday: Breakfast for dinner
The kids always enjoy a Rockford breakfast night because he makes all the foods.

Hungry for more? Check out the Menu Plan Monday linkup at OrgJunkie.

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Five quick things http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/five-quick-things/ http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/five-quick-things/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 15:07:40 +0000 http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/?p=17834 1. We’re still here.

2. My gallbladder has turned against me. I’m having it removed next week.

3. Pete is enjoying school.

4. Both cats have been sick over the last two weeks, so I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time and funds at the vet lately.

5. I have plenty of time to write, but I think I’ve forgotten how.

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A menu plan for the first week of school http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/a-menu-plan-for-the-first-week-of-school/ http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/a-menu-plan-for-the-first-week-of-school/#respond Mon, 28 Aug 2017 16:40:00 +0000 http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/?p=17766 Continue reading A menu plan for the first week of school ]]> Today has been strangely quiet at ButterscotchSundae headquarters, because today for the first time ever in the history of Pete he is at school. He was homeschooled for kindergarten through third grade, and I kind of figured that trend would continue. I’ve always told the kids they could try going to school if they ever wanted to, though, and about a month ago he said he wanted to go. He was a little nervous this morning, and I’m still a lot nervous right now. I’ve been tracking his schedule all day (he’s in music class right now), and I’m counting the hours til I can pick him up and hear all about his day. I hope it was wonderful.

Monday: Crispy Garlic Chicken
This is one of those dishes that’s always delicious but is rarely ever on our table because I keep forgetting about it. Welcome back, Crispy Garlic Chicken.

Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs
I made this last week, too. No such thing as too much spaghetti and meatballs.

Wednesday: Cheeseburgers
I figure cheeseburgers will be a good way to celebrate the boy’s first Wednesday of the school year.

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner
Maybe I’ll make hashbrowns this week.

Friday: Pizza
etc

Hungry for more? Check out the Menu Plan Monday linkup at OrgJunkie.

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A brief summary of the last month and also a menu plan http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/a-brief-summary-of-the-last-month-and-also-a-menu-plan/ Mon, 14 Aug 2017 14:36:00 +0000 http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/?p=17768 Continue reading A brief summary of the last month and also a menu plan ]]> Since last we spoke, I have discovered the joys of roasted strawberries and fallen into the trap of stress-eating about issues both international and domestic, Poppy has appeared in a kids’ performance of “Macbeth,” soccer season has recommenced, and Pete has decided to give public school a go. So it’s been a pretty eventful month.

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week.

Monday: Fast food
Welcome back, soccer season.

Tuesday: Poppy’s choice
We’ll be going out to celebrate Poppy’s 12th birthday!

Wednesday: Steak fajitas
We have tacos almost every week. We’re basically just having fancy tacos this time.

Thursday: Chicken Jalfrezi
Wikipedia tells me Jalfrezi is an “Indian Chinese stir-fry” invented by the British Raj as a way to use leftovers. I picked up the simmer sauce at the grocery store because it didn’t contain any cream.

Friday: There’s a 90 percent chance we’ll eat out again.
etc

Hungry for more? Check out the Menu Plan Monday linkup at OrgJunkie.

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A menu plan and a Sunday dinner conundrum http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/a-menu-plan-and-a-sunday-dinner-conundrum/ Mon, 17 Jul 2017 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/?p=17764 As our guest list has grown and my diet has constricted, planning our Sunday night dinner has begun to look like a lateral thinking math quiz.

If Nichole cannot eat dairy and is avoiding gluten, her sister-in-law is a vegetarian, her father-in-law is diabetic and her daughter only eats beige foods, what can Nichole make for Sunday night dinner?

The answer has thus far often been Curries, Big Salad or Tacos. I’m trying to find some more options, though, so I’ve been saving recipes that look promising to my Sunday Night Dinner pinterest board. I’m planning to try Huevos Rancheros from Cookie and Kate and Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers from The Minimalist Baker sometime soon.

The rest of our week somewhat less restrictive, since I’m the only one with dietary restrictions. Here’s what we’re having this week:

Monday: ???
We were supposed to have chicken sausages this evening, but the chicken sausages didn’t make it into the house when we got home from the grocery store. They spent a whole 90-degree day in the back of the car, so I opted to toss them into the trash. If I get back to the grocery store today I’ll replace them. Otherwise we’ll have Breakfast For Dinner!

Tuesday: Chicken salad sandwiches
We may go to Chicken Salad Chick, unless I decide to try to replicate one of their crazy-delicious recipes.

Wednesday: Orange-Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry
I didn’t realize how much chicken I had on the menu this week until I started typing this.

Thursday: Cheeseburgers
A very windy day conspired with a tent in our backyard a few months ago, and they took out my grill. I haven’t ordered the replacement parts to fix it yet, so we’ll be having oven-roasted burgers.

Friday: Pizza
The soy-cheese pizza I had last week was a poor substitute. This week I’m going to try making a cheese-free pizza with roasted veggies. Wish me luck.

Do you have any favorite meals for the difficult dinner party?

Hungry for more? Check out the Menu Plan Monday linkup at OrgJunkie.

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What I Did On My Summer Vacation 2017, and Also What I Ate After My Summer Vacation http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/what-i-did-on-my-summer-vacation-2017-and-also-what-i-ate-after-my-summer-vacation/ Mon, 10 Jul 2017 21:43:56 +0000 http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/?p=17780 Hey everybody, welcome back to Butterscotch Sundae Dot Com.

Here’s a TLDR of my Summer Vacation: It started with a theft and ended with a shooting.

I used Priceline for the very first time to book a room. I’d never stayed at a La Quinta before, and for some reason my impression of it was that their properties were a bit run-down and sketchy. But the Priceline thing was nonrefundable, so we were going to stay there. They put us in a smoking room first and then moved us to a room with a moldy tub, and then we got to the car the next morning and discovered that someone had stolen my laptop, Rockford’s headphones, Poppy’s headphones and all of our road snacks. We were not blameless in this situation. We shouldn’t have left anything in the car in the first place, and the lack of damage to the car would indicate that someone forgot to lock the car. But it wasn’t a great way to kick off our vacation, and it solidified my belief that La Quintas are a bit run-down and sketchy.

The rest of the week was a maelstrom of swimming and movies, baseball games and family time, and septic failures and driveway replacements. My in-laws had to break the lock on our storm door to get into our house while we were gone, my dad wrapped up the week with a kidney stone, and Rockford heard a shooting near our house about 20 minutes after we got home.

It was a weird vacation.

Monday: Crunchwraps
Rockford loves them, and we haven’t made them in quite a while. I’m hoping they’re just as good without cheese.

Tuesday: Orange chicken meatballs
This Just A Taste recipe is sufficiently tasty, and it’s a hit with most kids.

Wednesday: Shake ‘n’ Bake chicken
I’m endeavoring to teach Poppy how to make a few meals on her own, so she’ll be making dinner on Wednesday.

Thursday: Undecided
Poppy has a dentist appointment, so she’ll be on Soft Foods for the evening. She’ll probably have mac ‘n’ cheese.

Friday: Pizza
We haven’t been doing family pizza night very often since I quit eating dairy. I bought a soy cheese pizza from the Amy’s collection this week, though. Hopefully it’s decent.

Hungry for more? Check out the Menu Plan Monday linkup at OrgJunkie.

How’s your summer going?

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The portrait of a family falling apart http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/the-portrait-of-a-family-falling-apart/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 13:26:00 +0000 http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/?p=17770 Among the Ten Thousand Things “Among the Ten Thousand Things” is the story of a family falling apart. Julia Pierpont shows the reader in exquisite and funereal detail all the ways in which the Shanley family — Jack the philandering artist, Deb the former dancer, teenage Simon and pre-teen Kay — is uniquely unhappy.

It’s a well-written, sometimes lyrical book, but it isn’t a particularly enjoyable one. I slogged through it, but I didn’t like any of the characters and every chapter left me feeling melancholy. Which I guess is the purpose of the Unhappy Family genre.

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How not to make DIY yogurt with coconut milk http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/how-not-to-make-diy-yogurt-with-coconut-milk/ Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:30:00 +0000 http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/?p=17752 Years ago my mother-in-law gave me a 1974 Salton Yogurt Maker. I used it a few times to make yogurt, but after making a few batches and having them all rejected by ToddlerPoppy the yogurt maker went into the basement for a years-long slumber.

I didn’t eat much yogurt before we did the elimination diet because it always gave me a stomachache, but of course once the elimination diet was over and I decided to stop eating dairy? I wanted a bowl of yogurt, granola and berries every morning. I didn’t care for the soy yogurts I tried, but the So Delicious coconut yogurt was perfectly acceptable. It isn’t quite as thick as dairy yogurt, but it works. It’s expensive, though, and when I ran into the ’74 Salton the other day it occurred to me that making coconut yogurt at home might be a possibility.

A bit of googling lead me to believe that DIY coconut yogurt definitely is a possibility. I’ve had great luck with recipes from The Kitchn before, so I gave their dairy-free coconut yogurt recipe a try.

After a scavenger hunt though the fancy healthy grocery store for some tapioca starch, I went home and heated two cans of coconut milk. I whisked the tapioca starch into a little bit of the heated coconut milk before stirring it back in. I added the yogurt starter when the specially marked 1974 Salton spoon-thermometer told me to do so and stirred in some honey, and then I poured the mixture into the yogurt cups and stepped away for 10 hours to let the gentle heat do its thing. The “yogurt” was very liquidy at the end of those 10 hours, but I figured it might set up in the fridge overnight.

I was wrong.

My DIY dairy-free coconut yogurt had a nice flavor, but it was not thick and creamy at all. It was more like a very luxurious coconut milk beverage, which meant I my breakfast was a bowl of granola and cherries with something akin to coconut half-and-half in it. That’s definitely not a bad thing, but it wasn’t what I was looking to make.

The Kitchn also suggested using agar agar as a thickener, which I may try once my supercharged coconut beverage is gone. Their other suggestion was using just the coconut cream to make the yogurt. I think that would end up making it even more expensive than the grocery store version and would thus defeat the purpose. Other recommendations I found included pectin (Epicurious and Oh Lady Cakes) and blending it up using a fresh coconut (Oh She Glows), which is a thing that I almost certainly will never do.

But then, I never figured I’d give up cheese and sour cream either, so I could be cracking coconuts before you know it.

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Hey Nichole, what’ve you been reading? http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/hey-nichole-whatve-you-been-reading/ Thu, 15 Jun 2017 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/?p=17745 Well, friends, I still haven’t finished “John Quincy Adams: An American Visionary,” and Goodreads tells me I’m 8 books behind on my 2017 Reading Challenge. But I have been reading, albeit more slowly and sporadically than usual.

For some reason that I’m certain was just a coincidence and not at all related to politics, I started the year with some bleak stuff. In January and February I read Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” and Annie Proulx’s “Barkskins,” and they were both brutal. So much so that I didn’t read anything else for a month, at which time I read Ron Rash’s “The Risen.” It was neither as harsh nor as good as some of his previous work.

And then I skipped yet another full month of reading. That’s very strange for me, and I’m not sure what happened. I think I may have been in a fugue state. Maybe Baron von Strucker has turned me into a Winter Soldier. Who could know?

Anyway, I’ve been back on the reading rainbow since last month. I’ve recently read:

  • Tom Perotta’s “The Leftovers.” It was OK.
  • Liane Moriarty’s “Big Little Lies.” Also OK.
  • Patrick Rothfuss’s “The Wise Man’s Fear.” It’s the second book in a fantasy trilogy, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first one. Hopefully the last one will be better — and less focused on our hero’s burgeoning love life.
  • Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime.” This is the best book I’ve read this year. It’s an interesting and surprisingly moving biography.
  • Rebecca Dinerstein’s “The Sunlit Night.” It wasn’t bad, but I had to force myself to finish it. I didn’t connect with any of the characters.

    I have a couple more books waiting on my Kindle, and I just checked out Eowyn Ivey’s new book. June and July are usually heavy reading months for me; maybe I’ll get caught up on my reading challenge before August.

    What’ve you been reading?

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