Friday, September 19, 2014

Trashy Recipe Recommendation: Apple Pie

Last weekend, my boys and I helped their grandma peel, core, and slice apples so that she could can apple pie filling to have on hand for the rest of the year.  I swear there’s hardly a thing that makes me happier than spending a perfect fall weekend relaxing with my kids and husband on my in-laws’ farm while doing things like this—especially when my mother-in-law is being nice to me.

I love it when my mom-in-law unearths a contraption like the one below from somewhere deep in one of her cupboards, and I, unable to contain my excitement, say something like, “Oh my gosh!  What is that?  I’ve never seen anything like that before!”

She usually gives me a certain “look,” and I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure it’s meant to convey respect.  The utmost respect for my thirst for knowledge.

Sometimes after receiving that look, I’ll mess with her by pulling a really sad face.  “Well,” I’ll say, “I might have learned more about baking if my mom hadn’t left and my dad had had time to teach me.  As it was,” I’ll add, wiping an imaginary tear off of my face, “he was lucky to pop a family-sized frozen dinner into the oven before helping the five of us with our homework every night. 

“He worked 7 days a week to support us all, you know,” I’ll continue. “And dessert?  Dessert was a luxury only afforded those from a two-parent home.  Who had time for dessert?  Dessert wasn’t an apple pie; dessert was a popsicle in the bathtub after all of our math problems were finished.”

Oh my gosh, I LOVE hitting it home with the whole dessert speech.  I got that popsicle idea a couple of years ago at a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting when I was a stay-at-home mom.  If you haven’t tried it, it’s brilliant if you have young kids.  No mess, as all of that messy popsicle sticky washes right off in the bathtub.

All of the rest of that divorce stuff really happened, but you guys, if you’ve noticed anything about me, it’s that I kind of enjoy laughing at life, and I’ve been majorly blessed to be able to put things in a much greater perspective.  The moral of the story?  The divorce was way dramatic, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse in the grand scheme of what others have to deal with in life. 

Plus, my mom moved, like, 10 minutes away when she left, which really put a damper on the plans that the five of us had had for being children of a broken family.  We’d seen all of these after-school specials about kids from broken homes, and they made it look so good.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll get to be latchkey kids now,” my older sister breathed one day, soon after all of the divorce talk turned serious.

“Really?  Do you think it’ll get that bad?” I’d asked.

“I hope so,” she’d responded.  “Dad will be at work and Mom will be at her new house, and nobody will be there to fix us dinner…”

“And we can have canned ravioli and lollipops for every meal…”

“And eat it while we’re watching MTV…”

Really, besides the fact we’d now be home alone after school, the rest of our dream wasn’t all that different from how we were currently being raised.  But the prospect of having our very own shiny new keys—an actual something to put onto my keychain collection besides keychains—made it all the more exciting to me.

But lo and be-damned-hold, my mom moved just down the road, and she could pop over to Dad’s to heat up the ravioli and keep an eye on us whenever she felt like it. 

Our very own shiny new keys weren’t even necessary, which I thought was really stupid.  How could we be latchkey kids from a broken home when our mom was there to let us in the house every day?

We had also kind of thought that being kids of divorce meant double the Christmas celebrations, double the birthday parties, and double the parent guilt, meaning we could get away with murder at whichever house we’d decided to grace with our presence on any given day. 

But what did our parents do?  They immediately set up and stuck with a very regular schedule, as they believed that children benefited from rules and consistency.  And birthday parties and Christmas celebrations?  They did all of that stuff together with us in order to keep a sense of normalcy.  Selfish bastards. 

They still pull that shit to this day.

Anyway, my mother-in-law will catch on one of these days to the fact that I totally play up the non-existent shortcomings in my upbringing, but until then, I’ll just keep practicing my pouty face in the mirror.

Where was I going with this?

Oh, yes, a recipe. 

This is supposed to be a recipe recommendation for apple pie inspired by my fun canning experience with my mother-in-law last weekend, but peeps, I’m not even going to pretend that I’ve ever attempted to make an apple pie—or that I’ve gotten any further than figuring out what the hell that 1872-era illegal doctor-looking contraption pictured above was used for and then fighting with my boys over whose turn it was to use it.

And you can bet your ass that I wasn’t going to ask my mother-in-law anything else about the art of apple pies, as I didn’t want to risk being on the receiving end of another “look” on an otherwise lovely day that we were having together.

So here’s what I’m going to do instead.  I’m going to give you a recipe for an alcoholic drink called Apple Pie (because it tastes just like apple pie), a drink with which I became very familiar during a couple of different occasions in my early 20’s.

I once consumed so much of it that I made out with my high school boyfriend on a float trip about 3 years after we’d broken up.  That in itself wouldn’t have been so bad; for once in my young life, I wasn’t a cheating whore because at the time, I was single and so was he.

No, that wasn’t the problem at all.  The problem was that he had a tendency to try and be funny—and he was usually pretty successful.  That time, he kept repeating “Sit on my face” very loudly over and over again so that all of the people outside of our little makeout pup tent heard.

For the record, I did NOT sit on his face.  Even I have a teensy bit of self-respect, and no matter how drunk I was on Apple Pie, I decided to employ that self-respect that night.  There were, after all, about 15 other people—mutual friends from high school and college—also on the canoe trip who would have borne witness to the face sitting, and I just couldn’t have that.

But apparently it didn’t matter, because no matter how much I vehemently denied doing it and no matter how much I knew that they knew I didn’t do it, the fact of the matter was that they’d heard the line and it was funny.  And they didn’t let me forget it until THEY finally forgot it about it several years later.  Until then, though, I had to endure “sit on my face” taunts in the most random of places: 

“Hey!” I’d say to one of them in the courtyard of church after Mass on a Sunday when I was visiting my dad.  “How’ve things been?”

“Well, hey, Shay!” he/she would respond.  “Have you sat on a face lately?” 

Assholes.  I hate my friends.

Sweet Jesus, how did a happy little story about a fall weekend peeling apples with my boys turn into…this? 

Ah, well, here’s the recipe. 

Full disclosure:  I never actually made this, but I was present when my friends did, and I certainly consumed a lot of it…which means that I was too drunk to pay attention to what they were putting into it.  Honest to God, peeps, I don’t remember one single ingredient involved in making this delicious drink, but I could guess that something apple-y played a big part in it.

Anyhoo, I looked it up on and found a really easy recipe.  I’m going to try it this weekend in the name of “research for a piece that I’m working on.”  (I love saying shit like that to my husband.  His eyes roll so far up into his head that I always wonder if THIS will be the time that they get stuck up there, rendering him blind.) 

If the drink turns out bad, I'll come back and amend the recipe to the best of my abilities--which will probably make it worse, as I hardly have any abilities.  But I don't think I'll need to do that, anyway.  There are all kinds of positive reviews and really great tips for preparation from people who have tried it.

One quick tip from me:  Make sure none of your ex-boyfriends OR their stupid faces are around while you’re drinking it. 

You’ll need:

·         1 gallon apple juice

·         1 gallon apple cider

·         1 1/2 cups white sugar or to taste

·         6 cinnamon sticks

·         1 (1 liter) bottle 190 proof grain alcohol

Place the apple cider, apple juice, cinnamon sticks, and sugar into a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, and discard the cinnamon sticks. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then stir in the grain alcohol.

If you want to save and drink later (this recipe says that you can save it in your refrigerator for 6 months or more), pour into quart-size canning jars, seal with the lids and rings, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Can be served hot or cold


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Trashy Shorts: The Morning Commute

I turned around yesterday morning on the way to school/work to see my 6-year-old son bundled up in his hoodie, the front zipped all the way up to the hood that was drawn tightly around his face.  There was a slight chill in the air and a few raindrops outside, but nothing to get all dramatic about.

When I chuckled and told him this, he informed me that because he’s from Africa, “slightly chilly” weather feels colder to him than it does the rest of us because he’s used to the heat.  (We brought him home to the U.S. when he was 6 months old.)  He then proceeded to tell me that the President should make sure that everyone in the country has a boat for when it’s “raining like this and people need to get places,” which made me wonder when my husband and I had raised a young Socialist.

Meanwhile, his younger brother scolded me for whistling along to Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” because, he informed me, that’s his song and there’s no whistling involved in it anywhere.  Just after saying this, my younger son passed out, as he has decided to embrace the sleeping patterns of a  newborn and had been up at 2, 4, and 5 that morning.

Ah, the morning commute.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.  (Except, actually, I’d like to be able to whistle along to “Happy”…)

Have a great Thursday.  The weekend is almost here!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Trashy Shorts: A Painful Chevron

I took a few hours off of work yesterday morning to attend my 6-year-old’s first official Kindergarten field trip.

I was standing around talking to another parent chaperone, a dad whom I’d only just met but could tell I was going to like immediately based on the following conversation:

Him:  “It’s nice to meet you, but I’m sorry.  I can’t look directly at you because that shirt that you’re wearing physically hurts my eyes.”
Me, smiling and giving an exaggerated curtsy as I took his statement as the compliment that I was certain he’d intended it to be:  “Why, thank you.”

It reminded me of back in the day when I taught 8th grade Spanish and one of the students piped up from the back of the room. Senorita,” he said, “could you tell Aaron to turn down his shirt?  It’s so loud that I can’t hear your really important lecture.”

I’m not sure what I did in a past life to deserve to cross paths with all of the biggest smartasses in this one (I mean, even my damned Venus Fly Trap gets in on the action), but I’m going to try to find out so that I can make sure to keep it up. 

They make life so fun; I'm pretty sure I laugh about 1,000 times each day.  Oh, and don’t worry about me, peeps. I give as good as I get.  :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Trashy Shorts: Venus Fly Trap

Apparently SOMEONE got hungry this weekend, and he’d rather suck on a cord from the window blinds than endure dinner prepared by me—even when “dinner” only means swatting a fly and hand-feeding it to the diva plant with a pair of tweezers.

Seriously, you guys, if there’s ever been a time in my life when I’ve felt more unappreciated, I can’t think of it.  Ungrateful little bastard.


I get no respect around here.

If flies aren’t your thing—and don’t worry, they obviously aren’t his, either— be sure to check out what else I've got in Trashy Recipe Recommendations.  And have a great Monday!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Dirty Little Secrets

When I posted this short on Wednesday, I was reminded of another post that I wrote about my Bible Study girls about a year ago but, as of yet, have not used on my blog.  I think it's time to come clean...

Dirty Little Secrets
At Bible Study the other night (Yes, I go to Bible Study. I’m pretty sure that even though it won’t erase the skankiness of my past—ahem, yesterday—my dirty whore soul can use all the help it can get), all of the ladies were talking about being forgiven for our sins and how God doesn’t hold anything against us if we’re truly sorry. Naturally, the heathen college years came up.

“I once cheated on a French test,” one of the ladies whispered, staring down at her tightly-clasped hands.

“I got a B once,” another piped up, only slightly louder than the first. She couldn’t meet our eyes; instead, she glanced shiftily from one side of the room to the other, racked with guilt. I wanted to tell her that maybe if she’d been smart enough to cheat like Sinner #1, she’d have gotten an A. But I held my tongue.

“I yelled at my mom on the phone once,” came from the back of the room. The miserable offender wiped a lone tear from her cheek.

My jaw dropped farther and farther to the holy floor as I envisioned myself burning in hell with every confession that came out of my fellow Bible Studiers’ mouths. And then, after one of the girls shared this wretched confession--"I ate a packet of my roommate’s Ramen noodles once"--and followed it up with huge, real sobs that rocked her whole body, I couldn’t take it any longer.

“What the hell is wrong with you people?” I gasped. “I was a humongous skanky whore. I got drunk and had sex with a lot of people!”

I looked toward the back of the room, where the phone girl was still furiously wiping away tears, bottom lip quivering in disgust at herself.

“You’re worried about yelling at your mom on the phone?" I said to her.  "The first time my dad called during my freshman year, I told him he was a selfish rat bastard for interrupting my hungover slumber before noon on a Tuesday and took the opportunity to set some phone call ground rules.” I took a breath before continuing my spontaneous confession. “I once bought a homeless man a sandwich and a beer so he would agree to sit on my best friend’s lap in the middle of a bar and lick her neck up and down while I hid in the corner and watched and laughed. I’d have taped it, too, if we’d have carried cell phones around back then.”

I paused, watching the memory play out behind my eyes. “Of course,” I felt compelled to add, lifting my shoulders in a shrug, “I realized when I went home with him that night that he wasn’t actually homeless. It was just a look he’d perfected since he preferred drinking beer at the bar every night to eating and doing his laundry…”

When I looked up again, all of them were staring at me, eyes wide, mouths agape. They stayed like this for about one minute before simultaneously looking down to open their Bibles and feverishly thumb through the pages to find Scripture verses that would make me feel better.

“No,” I said. “No, really—I’m okay.” They paused from the page flipping and looked up at me again. “I just feel like we should be given a pass for the college years, you know?”

At this, everyone in the room laughed. Not because they thought I was joking, but because they get me, my peeps. They just get me.

And thank God for that, or I would have been kicked out a long time ago. In fact, I’m pretty sure they only keep me in as a sort of after-school program type deal: If I’m there Bibling it up with them, that’s one less night I’ll be out on the streets, skanking it up.

The hubs thanks them for their dedication. And I do, too, except for every third Tuesday or so, when I get to missing the old skank days and I'd rather be hanging out behind the Dumpster of a trashy bar, making out with someone.

But it’s okay, because I know I can relive those old days during confession time with my Bible Study peeps, and that’s just as good, right?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Trashy Shorts: 7 Minutes in Heaven

When you're trying to recommend a spiritual book during your weekly Bible Study and you say "Seven Minutes in Heaven" instead of 90 Minutes in Heaven, you know you're the lone Catholic in a Bible Study full of Methodists--or, as I like to call them, "Meths."  (They really love that.)

They were all like, "Shay, that's the closet makeout game!" to which I replied, "I was a huge nerd in high school!  I swear I never played that game!"

Someone suggested that perhaps I had played it in college, which, when I thought about it, was actually a good point. I went through an "awkward phase" from ages 0-22, which included the college years.  Judging from how I looked/dressed back then, I'm pretty sure the only way I'd have gotten someone to make out with me would've been to shove him into a closet where nobody else would have been able to witness it and make fun of him later.

I shrugged.  "I wouldn't remember.  I was drunk all 5 years of college."  I took a moment to raise my eyebrows defiantly at each of my Bible Study friends.  "That's right...five years of college.  For a teaching degree.  So what?"

Thank God my Meths love me...or maybe they're just trying to cure me...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Trashy Shorts: Oh, These Aren't Free?

My husband and I got an overnight babysitter (Thanks, Grandma!) Saturday night and headed a couple of hours out of town to go to a concert with another couple with whom we've been good friends for many years.

We spent the night at our friends' house, and when I took a shower the next morning, I was so excited because they had stocked it with all of the great stuff--Redken shampoo and conditioner, Bath and Body Works body wash, etc., etc.

It was such a nice change from the dollar store crap that we always buy for our own bathrooms, so I did what I always do when we stay at a fancy schmancy hotel:  I stole it all.

Thanks, friends, for your unwitting hospitality!  We will be returning soon!