Just the other day I convinced you all (except Mavis) that chocolate covered pretzels were the perfect potluck food.  This summer we attended a ham radio field day (yes, The Husband is a ham geek but a damn sexy one if you ask me) and I brought my new go-to potluck food. Here’s what was left of them after the first pass.

Plate pretzels RW

Yes, the first pass.  They fared well.  Quite well I think – aside from one guy complaining (joking? it’s hard to tell with ham geek humor sometimes) about mustard pretzels being on the dessert table that is, although I’d like it noted he still took one.  The Husband went back to field day after the kids went to bed for the night and he watched a guy snatch the very last pretzel.  So I guess I was totally right about them being the perfect food to sit out for extended periods of time.

Here’s Sweetey Petey enjoying one in case you need more photographic evidence they were popular.

Plate Pete RW

If you recall I also promised to share the rest of the potluck food. I focused solely on the dessert table for the post.  Yes, yes I did risk looking like a crazy fool in front of a bunch of people who have no idea I have a blog just to snap pictures of half eaten trays of food for you.  Because I love you all.  Or at least like.  I at least like you all.  Or at least most of you.

Anyway, here’s a breakdown of the dessert table.

The generic brownie.  Somebody always brings brownies.  They did okay. Not great, but solidly in the middle.

Plate Brownies RW

Store bought cake.  These did not fare well at all.  Nobody goes to a potluck for store bought cake people, so stay away from bringing these.  They sure were pretty though weren’t they? 

Plate store bought RW

I have no idea what these were.  Some sort of pastry?  It appears to have been pretty popular despite being purchased.

Plate Pastry RW

Apple pie.  Let’s face it, apple pie is always a winner no matter where you go or who you are with. So if you have the time, feel free to make one of these (message me your address if you need a taste tester mmmm K cause I love pie.)

Plate Pie RW

This was some sort of dump cake I think.  It was popular . . .

Plate dump cake RW

. . . so was the chocolate cake with caramel frosting.  Nothing beats a good homemade caramel frosting if you ask me (and apparently all the other folks who devoured this.)

Plate caramel cake RW

Fruit.  I’m tossing this into the dessert category here because it was with the desserts.  I devoured the cherries because cherries are expensive.  Must.  Get.  Money’s.  Worth.  From.  Free.  Potluck.

Plate cherries RW

For the record, the pre-sliced cherries made me look less like I’d been gutting chickens.  I had some blood red fingers after pulling pits out for Sweetey Petey.

Plate fruit salad RW

Watermelon is a classic and somebody always brings it.  It also always gets eaten.

Plate watermelon RW

This used to be cheesecake.  Clearly it was popular.  I bet Paula Deen’s mini cheesecake recipe would be a great option.  You all know that one right?  Quick, easy and already portioned.  I’ll have to keep that in mind . . .

Plate Empty RW

There were chocolate chip cookies too.  I forgot to snap a picture but I tried one.  Despite their claim of being “famous chocolate chip cookies” they were meh if you ask me.

So there you have it.  The potluck dessert table.

- Joanna

P.S.   My mom called me out on my lackluster blogging schedule the other day (over the phone of course since she has no clue how to leave comments.)  So, for the official record here are the reasons I’ve been a bad blogger lately:

1)  I’ve been painting the half finished wall in the Don Draper room (that’s what we call our family/play/TV/bar room.)

2)  I’ve been stripping painted over wallpaper again.  This is actually going faster than the last time I attempted this.  Possibly due to lack of blogging.

3)  I bought a carpet cleaner and have been cleaning the carpets (the Mother-in-Law will be happy about this because she noted the state of my carpets last time they visited.  Yeah, they are bad.  I have two kids and two dogs so they are bad.  Less bad now though thanks to my new Hoover baby.)

4)  I’ve been working on Sweetey Petey’s birthday party.  I am having Chipotle cater it so a lot of the food stress is gone, but I picked a pretty random theme (Giraffe’s Digging) and have not only created my only image for invites, but am also attempting one of those giant plywood cut-outs you stick your face through.  It’ll be of Giraffe’s.  Driving a construction digger.  And it’s gonna be awesome.

5)  I’m 95% sure that 90% of my readers these days are friends or relatives that I’m friends with on Facebook so they know the haps already.

I do still have lots to say and a ton of drafts started and some fun house projects to share eventually.  Very soon I’ll be starting a new series called The Patrick Project as well.  I’ll leave you to ponder on what that might be . . .

Question of the Day:  What do you think The Patrick Project is?? 

    Pretzels in the Pan Crop R

    Until recently I would have advised you NOT to invite me to your potluck.  I stink at bringing food other people like.  Let’s review my past potluck contributions:

    cold quinoa salad with raisins and toasted coconut

    brushetta with goat cheese

    greek yogurt cucumber salad

    marinated feta cheese, olive and cucumber skewers

    I thought they were all perfectly yummy, and best of all healthy . . . but no one else ate them.  Any of them.  It’s not that they weren’t tasty or that I’m a bad cook, they were just out of the norm.

    I was chatting with my friend Amber a few months ago and she noted she has this same problem.  She’s 100% Paleo and super excited for the food she brings to get-togethers.  Her contributions are super healthy, super within her diet and . . . super unpopular.  Or so she tells me – I go NUTS for her food because she’s an awesome cook.  We commiserated and I explained how I was done sharing food I like and was set on sharing food everybody likes.  Let’s face it, more people share the culinary tastes of my Father-in-Law than me.  It’d be a frigid day in H-E-double-hockey-sticks before I could get my Father-in-Law to eat a cold quinoa salad with raisins and toasted coconut and let’s not even discuss the goat cheese.  I shudder to think what he’d say if I served that to him.

    After much debate I’ve recently come up with a solution to my potluck woes.

    I’d like to introduce you to the perfect potluck food . . . dun dun duuuuuuun . . .

    CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS!

    Pretzels Crop R

    I have reasons people, oh do I have reasons!

    Pretzel Title RW

    One.  Who doesn’t like pretzels?  Nobody, that’s who.  Pretzels even come in gluten-free versions if that’s an issue.

    Two.  Who doesn’t like chocolate?  Nobody, that’s who.  Chocolate even comes in vegan versions if that’s an issue.

    Three.  They are fast and easy to make.  Melt chocolate.  Dip pretzel.  Top if desired.  Done.

    Four.  They can be made last minute.  Keep a bag of pretzels around the house and some chocolate and you are always ready to go, no special trip to the grocery required.

    Five.  They are completely customizable to any and every occasion.  That’s right.  Every occasion.  Wilton candy melts come in a ridiculous amount of colors to account for every holiday, graduating seniors class colors, birthday theme, season and more!  For formal occasions or to appear fancy, use more expensive chocolate.  Dip your pretzels in a mix of white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate and you’ve got every type of chocolate lover covered.  And toppings!  Yes, let’s discuss toppings.  Crushed peppermint for Christmas.  Toasted pecans for Thanksgiving.  Green sprinkles for St. Patty’s Day.  Yellow sprinkles for summer.  Orange sprinkles for fall.  Red and blue sugar on white chocolate for Fourth of July.  I could go on but there isn’t enough room on the internet  to list all the options.

    Six.  They are portable.  They store well, travel well, there’s no messy sauces to deal with and they are easy to grab a serving off the picnic table.  They won’t go stale, get soft or slimey or squishy and they have a shelf life that makes them just as tasty for a second helping when that fabulous party extends late into the night.  Plus, if by some miracle, there are any left and you take them home there’s no need to be concerned about contracting botulism from them sitting out on a table for hours and hours.

    Seven.  They are pretty.  Yes, pretty.  Presentation is half the battle and the better they look the more likely they’ll end up on that disposable plate instead of that plain old generic brownie default.

    Eight.  If you have kids, they can help! Get them dipping and rolling and you’ve not only got your potluck portion covered, but you’ve gotten your kids in the kitchen, kept them entertained and covered craft time.

    Nine.  They really aren’t that bad for you.  Sure, chocolate covered pretzels aren’t exactly on par with eating a salad, but the pretzels themselves are low in fat and if you use a super dark chocolate they can be low in sugar too.  Topping with crushed peanuts even offers a protein boost.  Take that generic brownie.

    Ten.  I don’t actually have a tenth reason, but nine reasons chocolate covered pretzels are the perfect potluck food sounded less cool than ten so how about you just take my word for it okay?

    Pretzels in the Pan RW

    Stop back in later for a post on how well these pretzels did at our last potluck . . . as well as how well other dishes fared!

    - Joanna

    P.S.  If you are asked to bring a side dish to your next potluck . . . well, ignore the request and go ahead and still bring these mmmm K?  No one will be mad once they eat them.  Besides, pretzels are carby and carbs are side dishes so WIN!

    Question of the Day:  What’s your go-to potluck dish?

      Can anybody tell me why in the world there are blueberries on this bag of sugar?

      Sugar RW

      No?  That’s what I thought.

      This is what I HATE about marketing.

      This is a bag of sugar.  It is NOT I repeat NOT healthy like, say, blueberries.

      Blueberries are good for you.

      Sugar is not.

      There are no blueberries inside this bag of sugar.

      There is no earthly reason to put sugar on fresh blueberries.

      Can it with the crappy marketing, sugar manufacturers, we are wise to your game.

      - Joanna

      Question of the Day:  What marketing ploys drive you nuts?

        Occasionally I come across a cooking tip that’s too awesome not to share.

        Garlic Chicken RW

        Roasting a small bird for dinner?

        Don’t want to pull out the big roasting pan and rack?

        Love roasted garlic?

        Love roasted garlic so much you could eat it by the spoonful?

        Then this tip is for you!

        Instead of propping your bird up on a fancy schmancy rack that you’d just have to wash later anyway, prop your bird up on a few heads of garlic with the tops chopped off.  It’ll get your bird up off the bottom of the pan for more even cooking, provide aromatics to help flavor your bird and BONUS you’ll have heads of roasted garlic for dinner or just for snacking.  It’s genius.  Pure genius.

        For this bird I used four heads of garlic.  I stuffed the cavity with fresh basil from the garden plus a cut orange (I was out of lemons).  I brushed the bird with melted butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  Roasted for an hour at 375 degrees, then flipped the bird over and doused with more butter and seasoning.  Baked for another hour.

        So simple and so tasty. From this one quick and easy recipe I got ALL of the following:

        1) A four pound chicken to eat for dinner

        2) The most delicious butter sauce for drizzling or making into gravy

        3) Roasted garlic

        4) A chicken carcass for stock made in the crockpot

        So go forth and roast some chicken and garlic my internet friends, roast away.

        - Joanna

        Question of the Day:  What are your favorite roasted chicken seasonings?

          Remember that one time I talked about iguanas and alluded to a blog post I never shared?  Yes, well in that post I never shared I suggested I might mix things up around here and stop playing it so safe (aka not worry about ticking people off and just say what I want to say.)

          On that note I’d like to get something off my chest.  No, I need to get something off my chest.  Or out of my underwear. That really would make more sense if you’d read the post.  Sigh.  Let’s just move on shall we?

          I can’t believe I’m saying this, but . . .

          THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN JUST CHOCOLATE!

          You heard me.

          THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN JUST CHOCOLATE!

          Say it with me.  Let’s not scream it this time, just say it nice and matter of fact like.

          There is more to life than just chocolate.

          Once more, with expression.

          There is more to life than just chocolate.

          Specifically I’m talking to my husband and his folks.  Calling them out if you will.  Challenging them to broaden their horizons.  Take a risk, take a gamble, step out of their safe little cocoons and experience ALL there is in life to experience.

          Let’s set the scene.

          My in-laws came into town (with a ten foot yellow slide and a hideously framed fish picture but those are different stories entirely) for a visit the other day.  We had dinner one night and plans for ice cream the next.  There were three options for ice cream locations.

          Option A – The local dairy whip.  Yes, a town favorite but pretty basic soft serve and nothing distinguishable from any other dairy whip.  What it has going for it is location, location, location.  It’s five minutes from home and when you have a baby that gets the fuss in the evenings and a two a half year old that gets a case of the crazies in the evenings this really is a strong selling point.

          Option B – Fancy soft serve fro-yo.  Fun flavors and toppings.  The big selling point here (besides the points card which earns me free fro-yo) is all the options.  You can add as many different flavors and toppings to your cup as your hungry heart desires! The possibilities are endless (okay, not really endless but statistically really high)!  Option B is more like ten minutes from home.  Not too shabby.

          Option C – Local, French pot ice cream. It’s pretty much the all time best, stick to the roof of your mouth creamy goodness that is worth every dang pants tightening, cellulose inducing calorie.  Its only drawback . . . it’s more like 15-18 minutes from home.  Not bad, but go too close to bedtime and it’s the longest 15-18 minute car ride ever.  Plus it’s kind of on a busy road and Sweetey Petey is a runner.

          My husband wanted Option A.  The in-laws tend to get Option C on their own when they visit.  So I pushed for Option B – moderately close to home and with loads of options.  The perfect compromise if you ask me.

          Here’s the problem.  Despite the fact that the frozen yogurt came in fun flavors like Orange, Pineapple, Peanut Butter, Brownie Batter, Coconut, Coffee, Cheesecake, Vanilla, Pistachio, Strawberry, Chocolate, Birthday Cake, Blackberry Greek, Salted Caramel and even pre-mixed smoothies . . . my husband and his entire side of the family only got chocolate.  Chocolate.  Just chocolate.  Mike added a few toppings to his chocolate, but his parents?  They were toppingless.  As in without any top.  No sprinkles or nuts or crushed candy or fruit or gummy bears or Swedish fish or marshmallows or coconut or iced graham cracker cookies or brownie bits or nerds or sauces of any kind.

          Just.  Plain.  Chocolate.

          I’ll admit I myself didn’t go hog wild with toppings, but I never do when I’m letting new to me frozen yogurt flavors shine though.

          Yes, you read me right, flavors.  Plural.  With an s people, an s.  That’s the point of these places, to try new flavors!

          In my bowl was a combo of cheesecake, coconut and pistachio.  I sprinkled some rainbow jimmies on top for funsies.  Because these places are supposed to be fun.  My fav?  The pistachio!  Followed closely by the coconut and coming up last, the cheesecake.

          Fro Yo RW

          That’s Sweetey Petey’s cup above mine.  The Husband *gasp* gave him some peanut butter as well.

          There was no plain chocolate in my cup.  Because plain chocolate at a fancy fro-yo place is just so vanilla.  I’ll admit the in-laws aren’t notorious for trying new things (remember the kohlrabi debacle) but if ever there was a chance for them, I’d like to think it starts with fro-yo.

          I know my M-I-L doesn’t read my blog but my F-I-L does and so do some of their friends.  I say we all band together.  We all band together and double dog dare them to get something other than chocolate next time.  And toppings?  At least one??  Maybe even *gasp* a sauce???  Can they do it????  With a little encouragement I do believe there could still be hope for them yet.

          - Joanna

          What’s your favorite frozen yogurt topping?

            My exciting life.

            Dad by day.

            Today’s chosen mode of transportation.

            2014.08.05 Scooter RW

            - Joanna

            What did you do to today?

             

              My exciting life.

              Day by day.

              August 4th 2014.

              Thanks to a $50 off sale and some Amazon associate rewards I finally bit the bullet on the Lensbaby Circular Fisheye Lens I’ve been jonesing for.

              2014.08.04 Lensbaby RW

              Notice anything wrong with that picture?

              Here, I’ll help you out.

              2014.08.04 Lensbaby RW Circle

              Le sigh.  I ordered a Nikon mount.  Because I have a Nikon camera.  I was sent the Canon.  Now I have to wait till Thursday for the replacement.  If I was a nail biter I’d be down to nubs by Thursday for sure.  But I’m not.  So I’ll just whine about the wait here instead.

              - Joanna

              Question of the Day:  What was the last thing you splurged on for yourself?

                Did you know that you can make zucchini pickles?  Yes, well, you can.  Who needs cucumbers?

                Zucchini:

                Zucchini RW

                Zucchini Pickles:

                Zucchini Pickles RW

                The recipe came from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

                - Joanna

                Question of the Day:  Have you done any canning?  If so, what have you canned?

                  It occurs to me as I start this post that today’s Throwback Thursday picture may not, in fact, be all that interesting to you.  Sorry if that’s the case but I’m running with it anyway.  It’s already scanned and PicMonkeyed and I’m here with a half hour to kill before I need my morning shower so it’s happening whether you like it or not.

                  In the interest (gotta get “interest” in this post somewhere amiright?) let me present an ultra exciting picture  . . . of the living room in my childhood house.

                  Ta da!

                  First House Living Room PM RW

                  Wow.  I know, right?  E.X.C.I.T.I.N.G.

                  This is currently relevant to me for a few reasons.

                  One.  The desk on the far left and the curio cabinet in the bottom left corner are going to my sister.  This is mostly relevant because as I type this I’ve been discussing with mom and dad how to get those pieces the two hours to my sister’s house.  We are all scheduled to head that way for my niece’s 8th birthday this weekend (don’t forget I prescheduled these Throwback Thursday posts so don’t bother wishing the tike Happy Birthday because it was months ago.  If all goes well I’ll have done a quick birthday recap on the blog already and if I’m not too lazy I’ll go back and link it here.  Is the “here” in a different color and underlined?  If so- GO ME!  If not – well, I suck and my niece had a birthday.)  so it seems like a good time to formulate a plan on how to get the furniture there.

                  Two.  Above the desk is an old style metal world map.  I recently ran across a similar piece at the local consignment store and came *this close* to shelling out $50 for it.  My folks no longer have this map to pass on to me and I like to have pieces around the home that remind me of something.  My only hesitation was (aside from the price) I have no place to hang it.  I already have a pile of art that needs a home, some with much more sentimental value than a metal map.  So I passed.  Still, for some reason, I always liked that map.

                  Here’s what I find so interesting about this picture.

                  The decor, obviously.  Dark maroon carpeting?  Drop ceiling?  Paneled wall?  Wallpapered wall?  Fake flower arrangements in those rusty brown tones you only see in old photographs?  Yes please!  Fun stuff.

                  Also, there are encyclopedias on the bookshelf.  ACTUAL ENCYCLOPEDIAS!!  Does Wikipedia know these used to exist?

                  The furniture piece on the right is a credenza . . . I just learned the other day that my Father-in-Law doesn’t know what a credenza is.  If he’s reading this post, now he does.

                  Supposedly my dad built the bookshelves and closet you see at the back . . . and was told under penalty of death they had better be done right.  I think they look nice, don’t you?  Dad also painted the fall scene that is hanging above the credenza although you can’t really see it here.

                  The last interesting thing to note was that this room was an add-on and for years took in water like a toddler sucks up juice.  That’s a lot of water for all you folks without kids.  As a kid myself I recall it was kinda fun to walk around barefoot on the squishy carpet after a torrential downpour.  I’d imagine the folks thought it was less fun.

                  And that’s all I’ve got today!  Since I have about four months of these Throwback Thursday posts prescheduled, I’m going to take a break and start scheduling some Random Picture of the Day posts for a while.  See you on the flip side.  Did I really just type that?

                  - Joanna

                  Question of the Day – So tell me, have you liked the Throwback Thursday series?  Be honest, I can take it.  Try not to judge the whole series on one boring photograph though mmmm K?

                    WHY am I still calling my Grandpa “Gramps” on this blog of mine?  I have no idea.  So for my Throwback Thursday post this week, I shared an old picture of my Grandpa and a few facts about him, including tales of an old rusty desk he worked at in the basement.

                    I managed to find some pictures of that desk!  These were taken when my Grandma entered a care facility and we cleaned out her house.  Grandpa had passed away quite a few years before that but his desk remained largely untouched.

                    Here’s his desk, rust and peeling laminate and all.

                    Gramps Desk 5 RW

                    And a few close ups of the shelf contents.

                    Gramps Desk 1 RW

                    Gramps Desk 3 RW

                    Gramps Desk 2 RW

                    Gramps Desk 4 RW

                    The husband was proud Grandpa loved himself some Pabst, even if it was the non-alcoholic kind.  Personally, I only remember Grandpa drinking O’douls beer.

                    - Joanna

                    Question of the Day:  Do you have sentimental items you’ve kept from loved ones that have passed away?

                    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...