A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life

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In 2019, I Resolve to Have More Resolve

As a new year approaches, I reflect on everything I’ve accomplished in 2018. So far, the list includes:

  • Baked over 500 cookies during the Christmas holiday season
  • Began writing entries on my blog again
  • Found no redeeming qualities of — or contributions to mankind from — any member of the Kardashian family
  • Binge watched all the episodes of The Great British Baking Show
  • Didn’t get arrested
  • Watched my oldest son play his last baseball game after 10 years participating in the sport, without becoming too much of a blubbering, unhinged mess
  • Watched my youngest son catch the same pay-it-forward bug as I have, through his high school lacrosse team’s community service efforts, without bragging too much about it
  • Participated in the Terrible Thanks for Asking podcast #TerribleWritingClub Challenge
  • Not losing my shit when I was told how much adding a 16 year old boy driver to our car insurance policy would cost
  • Bought a new car, then suffered severe buyer’s remorse as I realized the monthly payment means we have to curtail our habit of dining out at least 3…well, maybe 4…ok, so more like at least 5 times a week

So what are my resolutions for 2019? Well, the list is simple:

  • Bake cookies and goodies as much as I can
  • Write in my blog as much as I can
  • Ignore the Kardashians as much as I can
  • Binge watch shows I like as much as I can
  • Avoid behaviors that could lead to an arrest as much as I can
  • Get to my oldest son’s new Spring sport — high school Track & Field competitions — as much as I can
  • Support my youngest son’s community service efforts with his lacrosse team as much as I can
  • Listen to more Podcasts and participate in more listener activities as much as I can
  • Not freaking out about our insurance premiums — especially when I add the second teen boy driver to the policy in late 2019 — as much as I can
  • Not suffer buyer’s remorse and make dinner at home as much as I can

Finally, I will not beat myself up for not making dinner at home as much as I can. Because I know how much resolve I have when it comes to that.




Our Last Supper

I’ve been hobbling around on my foot for a year and a half, which I thought was just a twisted ankle taking too long to heal. PSYCH! It was really a partial rupture to my Achilles that after every conservative therapy possible, required surgery on May 31 to repair/rebuild. And removal of the bone spur jutting out of my heel. Go big or go home, right, bitches?

I learned a number of things during my post-surgical recovery:

  • the anesthesia you can get will be so good, you’ll have no idea who dressed you after surgery, how you got into the car after surgery, and whether or not you were wearing a bra the first few days after surgery
  • when entering your house after surgery via the practical (for the temporarily one-legged) but not very graceful method of butt scooting, refrain from placing your hands on the metal door frame on a hot, Summer day
  • if you must enter your house butt-scooting and placing your hands on the metal door frame plate on a hot, Summer day, be sure to do it when there is plenty of anesthesia still coursing through your body so that you barely feel the burn
  • Christian Louboutin is missing out on huge bank by not catering to the post-surgical marketJokes2
  • just because you’ve had surgery, doesn’t mean you can’t play “who wore it better?”


  • dogs make the best nursing assistants
  • never start taking pain killers if you don’t also take stool softener
  • the maximum number of days one can go without a shower before smelling oneself is no longer than 3 days — tops!
  • there will always be some entrepreneur that will make you feel guilty about recovery, and shame your (literally) lame ass to get off of itiwalk05
  • your knee scooter makes an excellent margarita caddy, after a long day of sitting around a baseball field watching your kid playIMG_0442
  • when your friends extend kindness – accept it

Because I was going to be fairly immobile — and not able to use my left foot at all — for 6 weeks, my friend Rebecca set up a Meal Train for me. She invited friends from many of the sports families in our community to participate. I protested this and Rebecca replied with “just shut it and let people do something nice for you for a change.”

So I shut it. The kindness started the evening of my surgery, with a delivery of fried chicken, mac ‘n cheese, and probably some other yummy stuff that I can’t remember now. I barely recall my friend Michelle bringing it by, but I’m pretty sure I gave her a hug from my horizontal location on the couch. Sorry, Michelle, if I was braless…I can’t seem to remember if I was wearing one after surgery.

There were kind gestures and messages…

General June 4General June 16General June 20General June 21General June 22General June 22_2General June 24General June 24_2June 30

There were also special deliveries…

General June 3

General June 8

We were well fed 31 days – everything from full meals to gift cards for local restaurants:

June 1June 2June 3June 4June 5June 6June 7June 8June 9June 10June 11June 12June 14June 15June 17June 17_2June 19June 21June 22June 22_2June 23June 26June 28June 29July 1July 2July 3

On July 3, the final delivery from the Meal Train arrived.  One of my friends replied to a post with this:


What a fabulous reminder of the kindness, compassion and community outreach that was exemplified by our last supper. All our suppers, really.

#LifeIsGood  #WalkersvillePeepsRock

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The Colonel Can Kiss My Ass

As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.  Never has that statement been truer than when I tried to make a homemade fried chicken dinner for a friend in need.

My good deed starts out with high hopes.  I signed up via mealTrain to help out a baseball team mom who is battling breast cancer and going through chemotherapy.  mealTrain allows the community to sign up in advance to help out people with challenges — surgery, illness, deployment, new baby, condolences — allowing friends, family and the community to coordinate/schedule support in the way of prepared meals.

I was thinking “a homemade meal is worth at least 3 weeks off that purgatory sentence I keep racking up”.  Oh, but the price I would pay.  I would have to cook.  And we all know how much I love cooking.

I found what sounded like a tasty recipe on the website Just a Pinch.  How can you go wrong with something called Dang Good Southern Fried Chicken?

I purchased all the ingredients to make the chicken rub — all 13 of them.

I know you only count 12, but I couldn’t fit flour in the picture.

My recipe usually calls for three ingredients: 1) drive up to speaker box; 2) order and pay for chicken; and 3) take bucket home for everyone to enjoy.  With 10 additional steps in the process — not including the overnight soak in buttermilk and the frying part — I should have known I was in trouble.

I purchased chicken drumsticks and breasts.  I think the package was mislabeled because what I ended up with was pterodactyl legs and breasts that would fill Pam Anderson’s (pre-reduction) bra.  And then some.

I followed the instructions for the chicken prep.  The 13 spices made me very sad I hadn’t opted for my usual 3 step process.  It was incredibly messy, halfway through I had to stop to make more rub and my kitchen reeked of buttermilk.

The frying was no better.  I used tongs to turn the chicken, but pterodactyl legs are decidedly impossible to move around with only one set of tongs.  And without splashing HOT grease everywhere.  The DDD cup breasts were no better.  Every time I touched them, the amazing rub on the skin would come off and float around in the grease, sending a mocking hiss at me as it over-crisped in the oil.

Once the chicken was done, I attempted a bit of plastic surgery, reattaching the floating skin to the pieces of chicken.  Sort of a frankencluck, if you will.  (I’ll tell you who was frankenclucked, people.  It was this chick and the ones that had been frying).

I believe my only saving grace for this meal was the homemade buttermilk biscuits.  And the corn on the cob cupcakes.

Perhaps I earned a few get-out-of-purgatory-early points after all.


I Need to Brush up on My Martian

Let’s face it. That book published in the early 90s with the silly sounding title was right. Men define things a lot differently than women.

Take the phrase “I’ll clean up from dinner”, for instance. When women utter these words at the conclusion of a meal, it is usually to an empty room because the rest of the family — including the dog — has vanished. They disappear faster than my IQ points when I’m watching an episode of Jerseylicious.

When a man utters these words, it is usually after the table has been cleared, with the utensils, plates and cups safely stowed in the dishwasher. Since we [women] all know the worst part of clean up is the dirty dishes used to prep all the food (a.k.a. “microwave safe container” in my house), we [women] welcome the opportunity to not have to scrub pots and pans. Right?

Except in my house, here’s what “clean up from dinner” looks like when the phrase is uttered by my husband:

Visual #1:

The stove top, the morning after I made enchiladas — and not from a kit. I made the filling, rolled the tortillas and baked them myself. That’s b-a-k-e-d, not n-u-k-e-d, people. This dinner took me 45 minutes longer to prepare than my normal dinner. Which is to say, I had to spend a whole 50 minutes in the kitchen. When I asked why all the leftover enchiladas were not tupperwared up and placed in the frig, he said “well I figured you’d get tired of eating so many enchilada leftovers for lunch this week, so why save them all? But I did cluster the pans on the oven because they needed time to soak”. Si, senor, however it would have been nice if you added a little agua to the pans to assist in the overnight soaking.

Visual #2:

The sink and counter, the morning after I made tacos. While I appreciate my husband’s ingenuity at the hanging frying pan over the sink, I really wish he would have just washed it out with the scrubber sponge, dish soap and warm water that are always available. At least this time, he put water in the pan, as well as the bowl to the left of the pan with ice cream remnants.

What’s Martian for “I need a margarita”?


Real Food. It’s What’s for Dinner. Once a Year.

My sister, her husband and their 3 kids stopped by our house for an overnight visit this past Wednesday, during their annual Summer pilgrimage from Canada. Our boys had football practice, so my husband and I figured the best dinner solution was to order pizza for everyone when practice was over.

My brother-in-law offered to go to Wegman’s and pick up a few things to grill for dinner instead of ordering pizza. “Sure”, I said. I mean, I like burgers on the grill and nuked Stouffer’s mac and cheese as much as the next person.

Except his shopping list didn’t include any hamburger or mac and cheese. This is what he brought home:

  • garlic flavored hummus
  • gourmet crackers – who knew there was something better than a Ritz?
  • fresh basil
  • fresh mozzarella
  • yellow peppers
  • gourmet chicken breasts
  • a whole white onion
  • fresh garlic
  • mini dessert cakes
  • strawberries
  • real cream
  • and more than one potato (up yours, Dan Quayle!)

Since I had no idea what to do with any of these ingredients that lacked the preservatives and frozenness that I am typically accustomed to when I “cook”, I decided to stay the hell out of his way.

There were a few requests he had while he was busy whipping up dinner. Literally people … he whipped the cream he bought. I told him I had Cool Whip in the frig, but he made the same face Molly Ringwald did as teenager Samantha in Sixteen Candles, when her grandmother suggested she take Long Duck Dong to her high school dance.

He asked me where I kept my garlic press. I told him that my garlic comes out of jar, in the pre-chopped format.

He asked me where my fresh Rosemary was. Puzzled, I told him none of my foul-mouthed and inappropriate friends had been invited to join us for dinner.

He asked where my whole pepper corns for grinding were. I showed him the shaker on the table with the pre-ground pepper. I’m not interested in that much exercise while I spice my food.

The evening’s menu consisted of garlic hummus and fancy cracker appetizer, fresh mozzarrella caprese (I did have olive oil and balsamic vinegarette), marinated grilled chicken, grilled peppers and onions, baked potato wedges and individual strawberry shortcakes. It was the best meal ever made in my kitchen. And the bonus was that none of the Rices’ bodies rejected the good food, or went into shock from the freshness of the ingredients.

Unfortunately, my family is destined for another year of nuked nibbles and pre-packaged, preservative-filled provisions until Uncle Jonas once again appears to fete us with his culinary creations. I hope we can all hold on that long.


When Did I Become Becky Crocker?

It is no great surprise to anyone that I do not like to cook. My husband knows it. My mother (who makes every frickin’ thing from scratch) knows it. My sisters – one of whom made her own baby food – know it. My kids know it. My facebook and Twitter friends/followers know it. Even the dog knows I can barely bring myself to fill her dish with dog food in the evening.

When you are faced with this type of commentary when you cook…

  • “This doesn’t taste like a Glory Days hotdog” when my kids are presented with boiled Oscar Mayer weiners
  • “Is this supposed to be so runny?”, when my family is presented with my meatloaf
  • “These suck compared to McDonald’s cheeseburgers”, when I attempt to glue the pieces of hamburger together with cheese, to disguise the fact that the damn patty stuck to the grill under my watch

…it’s no wonder I am always looking to redeem myself in the kitchen.

Working my way backward to find out how this all started, I see that I have actually morphed into my friends’ and family’s go-to dessert maker.

There were these recently commissioned (!) cakes, for two of the kids on my son’s little league team:

This Memorial Day cake for a family picnic, along with homemade chocolate candies in red, white and blue:

This was my first commissioned (!) cake and cupcakes for a local girls’ softball team (Go Mystics!):

This Easter cake, made from two round cakes with icing and M&Ms:

This birthday cake for my son Alex, with candy stars made by me:

This birthday cake and cupcakes for our friend Brian Henigin’s Led Zeppelin-themed party (his self-designed birthday logo is there to the left of the cake). The sprinkle cupcake is for his adorable daughter Samantha, who loves it when Miss Becky shows up with goodies:

A sampling of the yummy red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for a friend’s 40th birthday bash – hand decorated by yours truly:

This SuperBowl cake – can you figure out who we were rooting for?:

These New Year’s Eve cookies (there were many more – each one decorated differently)

Goodies for various Pittsburgh Steeler watching parties:

A Halloween-themed Pittsburgh Steeler watching party at our friend’s the Henigins:

But I think it all started when I took a Friday off, in celebration of homecoming weekend for our local high school. Our one son was playing on the mini-pony team in town, and they got to be part of the homecoming parade on Friday night. So, I decided to do something special for the kids’ game the next day. I made 60+ helmet cookies, and hand decorated them with icing and their team name (Go Lions!), individual numbers and names. I also made cookies for the coaches and some generic ones for the cheerleaders.

The day after the football game, I received the following e-mail from a dad/coach:
Thank you so much for the time and effort that you put into the cookies you have provided the Coaches and Players. Not only do they look Great but they taste phenomenal !!!!!! Ian appreciated his so much, I couldn’t get him to eat it. He gingerly put his in a tupperware bowl, sealed it with tape, and promptly put it in the freezer upon our arrival home. He did, however, munch on mine (which incidentally didn’t make it out of the parking lot before I had to split it with him). Once again, Thank you for your efforts.

And Becky Crocker was born.