Holidays Sauce.. our miraculous journey into low-fat delicacies

“Let’s make Hollandaise Sauce!” I said to my Love, “I’ll make a whole recipe and we’ll eat it all- it will be our splurge.”

I remember my mom making Hollandaise Sauce to go on broccoli and absolutely falling in love with its tart, lemony, buttery deliciousness. It’s a sauce that I personally believe could make a good soup…. if you aren’t opposed to the idea of eating enough butter and egg yolks to give an elephant cardiac arrest. I was in the mood to make something fancy to go with our stew and the asparagus which had been in the fridge, waiting for me to think of something to make with it. My mind settled on Hollandaise.

But, you know all about our crooked little stove with its three miniature burners, and two of the burners were already taken up with other dishes for the same dinner and I knew I didn’t have the space I needed to make the sauce work decently. I looked at the next recipe in my “Joy of Cooking” cookbook which was for “Blender Hollandaise Sauce” that didn’t need a stove at all. Intriguing. We have a new blender that has seen it’s share of use already making smoothies for breakfasts. The recipe started out, “Is not as flavorful or brightly colored as ‘real’ Hollandaise….”  and they lost me. I *love* the intensity of flavor in a good Hollandaise, and I think that if I made this recipe – without them having made that introductory statement – and found it to be a little blander, I would survive without too much grumbling, but to put the work into a sauce *knowing* it was going to be a little lifeless- I couldn’t bring myself to it.

Next recipe: Mock Hollandaise, which a clever lady named, ‘Holidays Sauce’. Again, intriguing. This recipe was for a lower fat version of the original that promised to be flavorful, but less likely to kill you on the spot, AND it only required One Burner. We *might* be able to make this work.


The recipe calls for:

1 cup cultured sour cream

2 egg yolks

the juice of one lemon

a pinch of salt

 At first I was a little unsure of the merits of using sour cream instead of the traditional melted butter, I mean, how much lower fat could it be? Quite a bit, actually. Don’t get me wrong, this still probably isn’t going to be something we eat every day, but you really do save yourself by using sour cream. I did some brief research, and one tablespoon of butter has 100 calories, more or less, while the sour cream has 30 calories in every tablespoon. Wow- I had no idea! Also, this version uses two egg yolks instead of the original three. *I later decided that when making this sauce again I would add the third just because I didn’t think it was ‘eggy’ enough.*

The sour cream goes into a small pot (hold that thought, you really need a double-boiler, but I don’t have one, so I used two small pots that are graduated sizes, so the one fit comfortably into the other… oh so clever! If you happen to have a double boiler, you are going to put these ingredients in the *top* pot.) with the two egg yolks, and the juice of one lemon. I just happened to have one lemon in the crisper and was able to use – for the first time – my retro juicer. I love it. I found the pretty old thing in an antique store many years ago and stuck it away in my hope chest for such a day as this. It worked like a dream.

Everything goes in the pot and then the pot goes in the other pot which has hot water in it (I feel like we should now have an appearance by Dr. Seuss with all this ‘pot, pot, hot’ going on). Not boiling water, just hot enough to slowly cook the egg yolk and thicken the sauce. It gets whisked all the while.


True, it isn’t the brilliant yellow I am used to, but you have to admit that it is a lovely shade. I whisked it for about five minutes until it was noticeably thicker. You shouldn’t let the water boil, says “Joy of Cooking”, just let it remain very hot, I found *that* degree to be when the bottom and sides are covered with little bubbles, and the bubbles begin to dance around and get antsy.


 *apologies for the poor picture quality*

We ate the sauce with steamed asparagus, and it was very good. It had all the lemony tartness of a regular Hollandaise with none of the regular fattening guilt. This is not to say, although, that I was completely rid of my craving for Hollandaise, or that I am not going to try to make some of the real stuff someday when I have more than one burner on my little stove.

random thoughts from me in the middle of the night

You heard it.

No recipes, no witty stories about my past (“Wait,” I hear you say, “there were witty stories about your past?”)

No cute pictures (Ok, maybe one or two)

Just random thoughts from me in the middle of the night because after listening to me read four chapters in Luke and a good chunk of God’s discourse in Job, my husband has fallen dead asleep on the couch and I am left alone.

Alone with you, dear reader, for company. I’m sorry.

I dislike talking on the phone. Intensely. If you are reading this, and you are someone I talk to on the phone, don’t be downcast, I probably love talking to *you*, even on the phone. It isn’t *you*, it’s the phone. I don’t know why. Maybe because my phone interrupts me by making random phone calls to *other* people while I am in the middle of a conversation. Maybe because my phone thinks that I am Carl Miller (if you are reading this, Carl Miller- there is some home security company who wants to protect your home. They keep calling me but I feel I can’t set something up for you since I don’t know your address..) and lies to people’s caller id, sending them into mild panic, wondering about this ‘Carl Miller’ fellow and why he would be calling them. I am not Carl Miller, but let’s face it, I have always had a problem with phones, just like I have had problems with vacuum cleaners and blenders. I don’t know why- it has always been thus, it isn’t my new phone’s fault at all.

And maybe I am just not technically advanced enough to work the things. Maybe. Maybe I need a personal upgrade. Ann, version 2.0.

Retro is much more my style…. dig it?

My husband and I are threatening to take up running. I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to write, I love the *idea* of being thin and in shape; I wish I loved to exercise as much. We *both* hate to run- so why did we pick this as a recreation? Because we’re too stinking happy, that’s why! Something had to change, and so we decided to take up- not knitting, not fishing, not polo or bridge, but running. I think we will learn to like it. After those first few thousand excruciating miles, I will probably even look forward to it and then we will have to find something else to hate. We’ll see.

I was in a semi-public place today when a semi-stranger walked up to me and said, “Aren’t you the gal that was in the paper yesterday?” I could have fallen over right there in front of him. Yes. Yes, I am the gal you saw in the paper. I am the newest columnist for our lovely local paper, writing every other week a column about- cooking. Are you surprised? I am.

I am A Writer. The semi-stranger said that he was looking forward to reading more from me in coming weeks. Did you get that? I had to go back and read it real slow- someone I don’t know liked something I wrote that was published in a newspaper. Oh. My. Word.

What does this have to do with the Manly Art of Knitting? Nothing. I just like the picture. A lot. Knitting is totally a manly art, especially if you knit while on a horse, dressed like a cowboy. Just sayin’.

That has been another episode of Random Things with Ann.

Tune in next week for more of the same!


spaghetti delirium

I made spaghetti for my love on Wednesday, but unlike the other batches of garlicky red sauce I have cooked up previously, this one was made in preparation, in expectation, as an offensive maneuver against the day ahead.

I was going to have an MRI, my first ever, and after hours of trying to distract myself by counting dust floaties in the air and coming up with witty things that “MRI” could stand for (as in, My Ridiculous Insurance. Or, Many Radical Insects- yes, I was desperate) I decided to work on dinner.

They told us during my first appointment with the shoulder specialist that I needed an MRI, and soon, before they could diagnose or treat my bum arm. When we were scheduling said MRI, they asked if I was claustrophobic. I immediately felt pressed in and breathless.

“Like, how claustrophobic would I have to be to have it be a problem?”

I *am* claustrophobic. I don’t sleep with the covers over my head and I can’t stand the thought of babies being womb-bound for nine WHOLE months. I don’t usually even sleep with socks on my feet because my toes begin to clamor for freedom. And yet, I’m not claustrophobic enough to refuse to ride in elevators or small cars. Just where was this MRI going to fall on the ‘claustrophobia’ scale?

“Ok.” The receptionist began, understandingly, “We’re just going to put in for a prescription for one Valium for you to take beforehand so that you are able to relax. Most people just sleep through them, you’ll be fine.”

I’ll be fine. Sure I will.

“You will need a driver, I assume you’ll bring her?” She looked at my husband. He eagerly signed up as designated driver and we were off.

Ten days later I was standing in my kitchen, thinking about dinner. I knew I was probably going to be a little tired after the day’s events, and might even still be woozy from the Valium and didn’t want to have to worry about food, so I decided to make spaghetti in the crockpot. It could cook all day and if I was really bad off, all Alex would need to do was boil some pasta and we’d have a simple, but decent dinner to sit down to. It’s a meal even someone tripped out on Valium could work out.

Pre MRI Spaghetti

1/2 lbs Italian sausage

1/2 lbs lean ground beef

2, 28 oz cans tomato sauce

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbps Italian seasoning


equal parts basil, oregano, thyme, and parsley

salt and pepper

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

1-2 Tbsp water

The oil goes into a hot frying pan and then is joined by the diced onions and minced garlic. This is left to cook for some time until the savory bits have melted and browned. If you are going to cook this in a crock pot, that should be ready and waiting to receive it’s due. If you’re going to slow cook it on the stove, you’ll need a decent-sized pot. The onions and garlic should be scooped out of the frying pan and put into their long-cooking home.  Now the ground beef and sausage is going to be fried with the water. The water is going to help the meat cook with a little less fat than would be otherwise be needed. If things start to stick, feel free to add a couple more tablespoons of water or so. You can either let it cook off in steam, or use it and try to strain some of the fat that will come from the cooked meat later on. You’re the Cook- it’s up to You. Make sure to break the meat up into little bite-sized pieces. Yum. I love spaghetti sauce with sausage.

I opened the cans of sauce and dumped them in with the waiting onions and garlic, then added the herbs. When the meat is well cooked, it’s goes into the pot as well. Heat is applied- for quite some time. Viola. Very simple, but the end result is delicious.

 I went to have the MRI, I took the little yellow pill right before going in to have dye injected into my shoulder joint (no, it didn’t kick in in time and I had to suffer through the dye totally sane and conscious. Bummer.) and then was whisked away to their loud, plastic tube to be MRI-d. By that time, the medicine had *definitely* started to work and I think they could have tied me up and thrown me off a bridge and I would have laughed and had a merry old time. But they propped me up and I spent 45 minutes listening to classical music and yes, sleeping. By the time I was leaving the hospital with my beloved designated driver, I could barely walk. I guess those sorts of drugs work rather hard on people who aren’t used to them. I am not used to them and spent the next hour or two rushing between hysterics and depression. No, I don’t remember most of it. Yes, I totally freaked my husband out. No, I am not going to start taking Valium on a regular basis. Yes, he was able to get some of the insanity on video with my iPod. I guess I became quite emotional about french fries and Dairy Queen and a random stranger who was walking in the rain before insisting that all the bees had died. Oh my.

The good news is, I was able to sleep it off and woke up wicked hung over, but back to myself. I was able to weakly rejoice over having survived the dreadful injections and the MRI. And, the spaghetti sauce was incredible.

Alex told me that during my drug-induced frenzy, I kept asking him if he wanted spaghetti with his spaghetti. Yeah. We’ll just let that one go.

company for dinner

“Company for dinner? What flavor? Will they go well with a white sauce?”

I hope he goes well with a white sauce, because that’s what we are having when Max comes this Thursday for dinner. fettucine Alfredo with chicken, broccoli and crusty bread purchased from the local grocery store bakery. It will be served with a leafy mixed greens salad and homemade lemon-aide.

Max is one of Alex’s high-school pals and the second of his ‘single’ friends to come for dinner. He’s an ice climber and a lacrosse coach. Oh my. Will he like pasta? Does he like broccoli -or will we have another Orange Pepper Incident on our hands? **The first fellow we had over, a hilarious and lanky 21-year-old who went through the police academy with Alex, was horrified at the lovely orange pepper slices I used to garnish the salad and very dramatically picked them all out. He soon forgave me, however, and after he got used to the idea that Alex was now permanently attached to this pepper-obsessed female, he seemed to even think that the whole marriage thing wasn’t a half-bad idea after all. By the end of the evening we were trying to set him up with available young women…. to be continued.**

Max will be the first person to eat at our place since we’ve acquired serving dishes and utensils- I am very excited to test them out on him.

Company Coming Chicken and Broccoli  Alfredo Sauce

2 chicken breasts, skinned, boned and cubed

1 medium-sized crown of broccoli cut into bite-sized florets

2 cups whole milk (I supposed you should use 1 cup of cream,

but I never have any, so I use creamy milk and cook it for a while so that it gets thick….)

1/2 cup white wine

salt and pepper

1 clove garlic, sliced

2 Tbsp flour (I used this to help thicken the sauce, if you’re using cream you won’t need it.)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

olive oil for frying

I must say right now that I have utterly and unabashedly stolen the *method* of making this from that creative culinary genius, Sheri (of Sheri’s Diner fame…). She so effortlessly mixes up these incredibly gorgeous dishes while she visits with me, and I am studying her every move, memorizing the methods because once you have the method- you can mix and match your own flavors and come up with something entirely different. True? True. That, and I am fascinated by the idea of cooking with wine. The first time I tried it, I somehow curdled the milk and made a horrible mess. Horrible Mess.

Olive oil- in a big frying pan. Here I will repeat the saying that my mama (the first and foremost culinary expert in my life) taught me, “Hot pan, cool oil- Food Won’t Stick.” Get your pan hot, then add your oil. It works, believe me. Add the sliced garlic and let it swim around and scent the oil. It should brown, then be scooped out so that it doesn’t burn while you cook the chicken. Don’t worry, it isn’t being just used and then discarded, it can be added again later- I’ll tell you when it’s safe….

Now the chicken can go in. I like my cubes to be bite-sized; of all things, I deplore large chunks of *things*, I have a compulsion to have everything in small enough pieces to be eaten nicely. Nicely. I know, weird- we’ll move on. At this point I season the chicken with my salt and lots of pepper (Alex loves pepper, and I am learning to love it too. I find I can admire the spice much more when it is freshly ground, it’s completely different from the dry ashes contained in most table-top shakers) and stir it so that it cooks evenly. When it is just about done, add the broccoli florets.

Now, a word about broccoli- who can *not* like a food that comes in ‘florets’? Honestly, a floret of broccoli, when it has been tastefully cooked is just about the best vegetable there is. I like broccoli cooked just until it ‘wakes up’. You will know exactly what I mean if you watch closely the next time you cook some. It goes into the pot looking dark green and almost waxy, then after a couple of minutes of being steamed or sautéed, suddenly the color comes alive and intensifies, electrifies, the broccoli is still crisp and the flavor is very -real. I feel bad for people who have only ever had broccoli that has died in the pan as avocado green mush, then buried in a Velveeta cheese-food grave. I used to like my broccoli cooked like this, with cheese. Oh my. Thank God I wasn’t given up on. Anyway. The broccoli goes into the pot with the chicken to be briefly sautéed, until it’s woken up. Then, brighten it with the wine (very much like you would splash your face with cold water upon waking) and add the garlic back in if you’ve saved it (remember, I asked you to earlier?). This is going to be a fragrant and enticing moment, enjoy it. I was absolutely hypnotized.

This is going to cook for just a minute or two. At this point, I add the cheese and then the flour and stir them in well. Next comes the milk/cream. All of this is allowed to simmer while the finishing touches are being made to the meal. I wouldn’t let it cook for too long lest you destroy the broccoli….

Please, I beg you, if you forget the bread or serve it with frozen butter, undercook the noodles, cut the chicken into big, inedible hunks or even burn the garlic- just Don’t Destroy The Broccoli. Please.

Thank you. We all will thank you….

the little we know – for the single Valentine

Another Valentine’s Day come and gone and you’re still single.

I’ve been there. I’ve sung the song, I’ve gotten the t-shirt, I’ve ridden the pendulum from humor to bitterness and finally settled into the middle limbo of indifference, a bland yet ever cheerful smile that occupies where desire has yet to be fulfilled. This year I have a new song, and a new shirt- it’s an old, black Harley tee I stole from my husband.

I have this to say:

Little did we know that we would meet and fall in love.

Life was just going on- me going one way, he going another, and we happened to meet for five minutes in a hardware store in a town neither of us had even heard of a year before. I was selling snow shovels, he was buying them. Simple enough.

Little did I know that a year later I would be living in this quiet man’s house, cooking him meals, sharing a friendly tube of toothpaste and a little porcelain sink. Little did he know that he would be subjected to Love and all its symptoms, that his friends would break open with surprise when he introduced the wife who developed from a girlfriend he hadn’t had four months earlier. He was just buying a shovel.

I was just volunteering downtown. Months after the snow had melted and summer was making a dramatic exit by way of Hurricane Irene, we talked for the first time. I had packed my bags and was headed West before she came and stopped my journey, leaving me with two weeks, no job, no plan, no clue. Our small town’s heart was swept away by violent waters which left mud and debris that needed to be cleaned up. I had nothing else to do, and had been inadvertently waiting for a natural disaster to come and change my life, so I donned my work clothes and showed up at 9 o’clock on Saturday morning to rescue antiques from the muddy waters of Nancy Leary’s basement.

He was simply on duty, keeping the curious populace from falling into flooded pits and being crushed by fainting buildings.

Little did I know that his face was soon to become the loveliest sight my eyes could find, or that his calm voice was going to be the music that would soothe me back to sleep after having a nightmare. He couldn’t have had any idea that in the short months ahead our conversations would get longer and longer and longer, that soon I would be sitting at his dining room table at midnight, waiting for him to come home for lunch so that we could talk some more.  I said goodbye, turned and left him standing there at the bottom of the hill that first day, not knowing that I should mark this parting, for it was to be one of the very few that came that easily or without some aching deep in me I could barely stand.

How unlikely we were at that moment. Unlikely to meet, unlikely to fall in love, unlikely to marry.

We just didn’t know. There is very little that we mortals *do* know here on this earth, and since meeting Alex, my confidence in that little has lessened considerably. What do we know? Really. What do you know? What do I know of tomorrow or the next day? What do you know but that two weeks from now your life is going to be made complete? What do you know but that the stranger you sold that shovel to, the one you don’t remember- is going to be your husband in less than 12 months. What do you know but that your other half is out there, clueless, wondering, wandering right into your path at any moment. Every minute you are alive is an opportunity, a chance, and you never really know what there is a chance of until you Live. That’s the charm of it. We plan, we fret, we work, we live, we make goals and strive to accomplish them and all the while there is this grand joke being played on us all – it’s not Our Plan that stands. It’s not Our Purpose that stays, is it? In the end- what do we know?

Little did I know that I was three days, one train ticket and an old suitcase away from missing the Love of my Life when that angry storm came and pulled the tracks out from under me. How many times in the years before that moment did the choice at hand seem wrong, the path seem too hard; how often did the questions arise like thick, angry clouds and we felt a little lost, felt unsure or just Out Of Place- and yet we were right In Place. How incredible is that?

And yet, I say, there is no such thing as coincidence. I dare not leave such a close fate as mine in the hands of such a slippery idea. Many things have coincided in my life, and I could be married to the nightclub owner from Berlin who is twice my age, or the farmer who lived on the next hundred acres from where I grew up. You can’t trust coincidence.

You can, however, trust the Planner of all Fates, the Hearer of all Desires, the Great Creative Genius behind my own love story, the only One who truly has any power to make something out of nothing, to bring life from storms, hope from ruin and reality from all our ‘unlikelys’. We like to think we have everything formulated and contained and sterilized and thoroughly understood, we like to think we know whom we would like to marry, or how it will happen, or when. We like to direct God with our prayers, suggesting and desiring only what we can feel and think and hold. Have you ever prayed the words, “Lord- I’m game.”?  Have you ever asked Him what HE would like to do with a situation? We like to visualize our lives and then head towards the picture we’ve painted using only the colors that we know well.  Step back for just a minute and think about what you truly do know, and then walk on, well-assured that the palette you have to work from is limited, small, finite, color-blind and underestimating to the extreme. God- He is the One to let work, otherwise you are simply living on the little that we know, and that is the surest way to lose a great deal of the wonder, intense beauty and supreme blessing of life.

Little did we know what that day would start…. You don’t know what is going to start with tomorrow’s sunrise, do you?

what meal is it?

I have taken to tying my hair up with ribbon at night. And, I just painted my fingernails a restful shade of lavender. I don’t have nice hands (I know, oh my… some people do, some don’t- I don’t) and I don’t have long nails (what a pain) but what I do have now are *purple* stubs of nails that look strangely adolescent.

Tonight we had Breakfast Burgers, a corrupted interpretation of a delicious experience I had in a Denny’s restaurant somewhere in northern New York this past October. I was with a literal busload of Amish people and we stopped to get lunch, I picked the most calorie-dense food I could find – a quarter pound burger covered with hash browns, cheese and bacon, then crowned with a golden, runny-yolked egg. Yum. “What meal *is* this?” I thought, “It has the best of All Three!” It almost needs a new meal category; not breakfast, not lunch, not quite dinner- What meal is it?

I thought my heart was going to clog up and stop, but I didn’t care much, it was easily one of the best things I have ever eaten. Ever. I was missing my boyfriend, lost in New York and the only one with lime green toenails in the bunch- it was one of those times when a heart-stopping meal was very appropriate. I promised myself that one day I would attempt to recreate this fabulously decadent meal.

Well, one day came today. I began plotting last week. Alex is taking me on a short vacation this weekend (woot woot) and we are trying to eat up all the fresh food this week before we leave, so everything has been weighed out and carefully planned. I had the beef, the eggs, the potatoes, the cheese, the bacon (which we don’t use, but I like the thought of it tucked away in the back of the freezer for a rainy day. It’s rather like the baby tooth you keep hoarded in an old box as the symbol of childhood past.) and the time to put it all together, PLUS it would use up some of the food that needed to be eaten. I warned my husband that this would probably be the most impressively bad meal he had ever eaten, but if he breathed easy and appreciated the fact that there was no bacon, he would Enjoy It. I made some alterations to the recipe as I remembered it to try to add depth and take away cholesterol, and this is what I came up with….

Breakfast Burgers – Ann Style

1 lbs lean ground beef (don’t skimp, get the good stuff, 85% fat-free or higher)

1 medium onion, shredded or sliced thinly

2 potatoes, shredded

4 eggs

4 slices of cheese (I used Vermont’s own Cabot Cheddar)

4 slices of bread (used to make toast, this is optional however)

4 slices of bacon (also optional)

1 tsp garlic

1 tsp apple pie spice (just wait, it works)

salt and pepper to taste

This makes four servings.

This meal is best approached in steps. Trust me now, I thought this out long and hard for days (because I am dense like that), steps works best. It’s like a list, and Lists Are Awesome. BUT, if you can think short and easy and come up with something better than what I have discovered, please, please, please- share your wisdom.

Step One: The potatoes. Wash them, peel them if you want and then shred them. I did this early on in the day and kept them in a bowl of cold water in the fridge. The onion is going to be peeled and shredded as well and added to the potatoes. These two foundations of cookery hung out in the cooler all day while I got my errands done.

Step Two: The burger. The beef should be mixed with the garlic, spices and a little bit of salt and pepper. I am not sure where I got the idea to add the sweet spices to the beef except that I was thinking of French Toast at the time, and how well those spices seem to go with breakfast. I mean, think of sausage- it’s got a ton of sweet spices in it, and we always eat it with maple syrup and eggs- don’t we? I heard that’s what people in Vermont do anyway… This step was also completed in the morning (or, my morning, which was more like two in the afternoon) then the meat was formed into four thin patties of Equal Size and left in the fridge to visit with the potatoes and onions.

Step Three: The Construction. This is an impressive meal to put together, but it comes off like a charm and looks really cool when you’re done. Firstly, the potatoes and onions need a while to cook. If they’ve been swimming in the fridge all day, they must be drained and then patted dry. You could conceivably cook them all at once in a big skillet, but I have a slight obsession with crispy spuds, so I fried mine in four small ‘batches’ so that they made flat potato ‘cakes’. Yum. It would be awesome if you had a Fry Daddy and could deep fry them. Double Yum. During this time, you are going to want to cook and drain the bacon too, if you want bacon. This step could probably be done earlier in the day and the bacon reheated when needed.

When I had half the potatoes done and waiting on the side, I started to cook the burgers. Since I used very lean meat, and didn’t want to use a bunch of fat to fry the burgers in, I just put a little bit of water in the bottom of another frying pan and waited for it to boil and then cooked the burgers in that. Now, you’re not Boiling the Burgers, heaven help us, the water in the pan is only to keep them from sticking until the burgers themselves can produce a little fat and moisture, and then they can be drained and you lose a good deal of the fat from the meat. Hmmmm. That’s a little tip I got from my mama.

So, the burgers are almost done, the last batch of potatoes is being removed from their happy pan, the cheese has been sliced, the eggs have been gathered from the chicken coop (not really, I got mine from the fridge where, thank God, there are no chickens) and you’re about ready to put this show together! How exciting… At this point my husband was lured in to the kitchen by the incredible scents, I ranted and raved and got slightly emotional about something I can’t quite remember, and we had a short dance. If you want toast, this would have been the perfect time to be doing that. If you opt out of toast, go ahead and dance. The bacon is now going on to the burgers and you’re going to let the cheese faint right over the whole thing, the eggs are broken into the now empty potato pan (I love it when I can multi-purpose cooking equipment) and are frying away. Ideally, the eggs should have runny yolks, but if that doesn’t float your boat, feel free to poach them, scramble or fry them over-hard.

Last Step: The finale. Put on dramatic music, or anything that is going to add to the momentousness of the occasion. Here’s how it goes: Toast. Burger with bacon and cheese. A portion, or cake, of hash browns. An egg. Viola. Ours didn’t have toast or bacon, so I layered the burgers on the hash browns, then the cheese, then the egg.

It’s a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Forever, because it will take you that long to exercise all that off.

It’s so worth it, though. That first bite should be the best, make sure to get a little bit of everything drenched in yolk. Oh. My. Word. It’s incredible.


i just don’t understand

Mmmmmmm, Sheri, I like these sweet potato fries.”

*Said in delight*

“Good! I think a lot of people are going to like them, make sure customers know that we have them.”

*Said with assurance*

“Oh yeah! And they’re probably much better for you than regular fries… right?”

*Said in Great Hope*

“Andi. I don’t think anything is healthy for you once it has been deep fried.

I don’t think broccoli would be healthy if you deep fried it.



cop wife fail #28

“I think these should do – what do you need gloves for?” Our town’s Chief of Police was handing me a thick box of bright blue latex gloves.

“Oh, just to clean the bathrooms…” I muttered. I took the weekly job of cleaning the police department back when Alex and I started dating, and even though it’s been months, I still feel *really* out of place wandering around amidst wanted posters and uniformed officers. You would think that being married to one of the officers would eliminate such woe, but I guess I feel all the more self-conscious. I’m still learning how to be a good ‘cop-wife’. People maybe don’t think there is a lot to it, but there is, at least the way I see it.

“Good. They should be tough enough, they’re the kind we use when we need to handle decomposing bodies.” He smiled and then walked away.

The kind we use when we need to handle decomposed bodies? See- right there, cop wife fail #27, I feel like I should press him for further details, or ask about the rate at which bodies decompose, or have anything running through my mind but this horror at death and decomposition. Never did I think I would hear those words said with such matter-of-fact-ness. Decomposed bodies? You never really forget statements like that, or, “You know, on every traffic stop we are supposed to walk up behind the car and press our right thumb against the back light so that if something were to happen, and we die, they have our print on the car that ‘did it’.”

If something were to happen and we die?


Every night my husband walks down our frightfully narrow flight of stairs and just before he closes the front door behind him,  he turns and looks at me one last time. I usually say something old-hennish like “Stay safe now, Alexander.” or better yet, “Stay warm now, hon.” and then he smiles at me. I freeze that moment in time and hold it closer than I hold any single one of my breaths until he is safe back home again. I go about the night, I do my school, I do my dishes, I fold laundry or knit or bake cookies and in the end fall into an uneasy sleep and all the time that picture is in the back of my head, perfectly preserved, his last smile before he heads out to save the world. A part of me ceases to breathe until he is by my side once more.

I talk like an old maid, a grandma, a mother, half scolding, “Stay warm now, stay out of trouble.”

What I mean to say is, “If something were to happen to you, I think I would die. And not just *die* in one terrible seizure that ended life once and for all. No, it would be a pulsing thing, moment by moment, beat by beat, never ending. Remember, dear one, it is not just your own life you carry with you out of this little, angled home, not just your heart you bear beneath that bullet-proof vest. Stay warm.” A prayer, more like a groan, more like a cry than any I’ve ever uttered, “God keep him.” It’s not a dangerous little town, but there he goes, out to find any danger that might develop.

Cop wife fail #28. Being totally unwilling to give my up my husband for the greater good of mankind. Oh my. Between that sentiment, and the fact that I obviously seem to tend towards the morbid and slightly cowardly, we have a first class fault. Of course I want him to be The Good Guy. Of course I want him to chase his passion while chasing bad guys. Of course, when he gets himself all decked out in his uniform he looks like he could face death and hell and troublesome teens all in one night and still be home at dawn to kiss me good morning, and I have every confidence that he would, and will. The thing is, I love the man inside that uniform. I love the man that sheds his duty belt and then holds my hand while we watch movies at night. When the badge comes off at the end of the shift, the heart beneath it is warm and full and loving and all mine. In my failing, cop wife way, I just can’t help but think that if everyone could see the man I see, there would be no need for fingerprinting taillights.

I can’t make people good. I can’t make them see reason, or make life deal me lighter blows than most people have come to expect, but there are things I *can* do, things like not missing that last smile, or never taking that moment when I hear his keys in the door for granted.

*That*, dear reader, will not be one of my failings.

about his socks

I’ve finally figured out how to fold them just like he does. Well, almost just like he does, there’s still a bit of an ‘Ann-twist’ to them, but it will do. They are folded, and what’s more, *my* socks are folded as well. My socks haven’t been more than just tossed into the drawer all willy-nilly for years, much to my mother’s disgruntlement. I will say here and now, publicly, that she taught me to fold my socks the right way when I was young. When I turned 20 I had this friend who had this theory about socks and why they shouldn’t have to be folded- and it made such sense at the time. I was ready to make a gaudy sign and picket- somewhere, or get a “FREE THE SOCKS” tattoo (Ann bad idea #7,968) My socks have lived in liberation ever since, but even liberty can be oppressive when you keep losing the silly things, or wearing the same two that float near the top over and over again until they’re worn out. OR, you finally just get tired of feeling all care-free and easy. There needs to be order, somewhere, somehow,  in some way. If the socks lose it- I ask you, where will the rest of us be? I am wearing perfectly matched, knee-length argyle socks, and all is right with the world….


The laundry is done for another week and I have just sent in the last exam for Freelancing 101.

The course is dead. Long live the course.

Actually, long live Three Courses, because that’s how many I’ve just signed up to start in on tomorrow.

I see lots of planning and scheduling in my future, not to mention late night brain meals of oatmeal and popcorn.

Creative Writing 101, Punctuation and Grammar 101, and Writing Basics 101.

Im gonna be the best durned riter y’alls ever seen. You bet.


..I told you I was wearing cool socks….