The Wrong Way (Cannoli Lesson Learned)

I’ve believed whole-heartedly that there is always a right way and a wrong way to do things.

I’ve also spent hours considering if that could even possibly be the case anymore, anywhere in this world.

If the right way is discipline, the wrong way must be the lack of.

And it’s all terribly subjective. And I do mean terribly.

There are countless mystified moments I marvel at the number of people whom must have agreed that something was a good idea way before it became a viable consumable.

My latest mind-thumper was an ice-cream error. That’s the nicest way I can think of wording it.

The bottom line is this: Ben & Jerry’s Cannoli ice cream tastes nothing like any East Coast, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts cannoli that I’ve ever had. Even the weird Tennessee ones, were better than the medley pint of unidentifiable uncertainty purchased.

I couldn’t figure it out.

I’ll give it ‘creamy.’ I’ll also award it nearly flavorless, maybe a bit of vanilla once in a while and I can’t confirm cannoli shells or shards or chips. Remember the old chocolate lined Nutty-Buddy cones? That summer convenience store single serve frozen flavor comes close.

Why is this my direction tonight? Honestly, because I didn’t want to.

Once a week shouldn’t feel so hard. Still, some days, it does. Today was one of those days. Long and…. long.

However seemingly self-righteous, the right way to proceed is for me to honor consistency. Remain proud. Be disciplined, if only for the reminder next week that I own nearly 13 steadily maintained years of written history. There’s an innately pre-determined pressure to reward myself with internalized-bragging rights overrides almost every objection I’ve ever come up with.

But, anyway. The reward tonight is not cannoli ice cream. Because, I persistently plowed through that in three servings last weekend, each separate scoop no more definable than other. I wanted to believe it would taste better each time. I also wanted to believe it would make me feel better; physically, mentally. Which is how I came back to what I always come back to: my version of reward-driven ego isn’t usually healthy. It’s more likely damaging, which is a psychological exploration for another episode of “Not Wanting to This Week.”

The thawing end-note for my Tuesday evening melt is that I did it.

Plus, I get to offer this sweet nicety:

Ben & Jerry’s Chip Happens lives up to its ambitious description. The Crunchy Potato Chip Swirls are indeed crunchy. Brand confidence restored.

Cannoli Lesson Learned: Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby. Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.

Quote for the Week:

I Didn’t Have Any of That So… (Sweet Nothing but Something; Desperation Dessert.)

I giggled because… yes.

You may have never heard about this COVID Cuisine adventure, but a friend FB posited: what is one of the weirdest food combinations that you’ve eaten during sheltering?? (be honest. lol)

I’ll tell you what I told her. It’d be completely dishonest for me to claim my COVID cuisine concoctions differ from my regular, um, creative cooking.

Honestly, though. About a week ago, I stared longingly into my cabinets of mostly health. My general rule is – if I don’t have it, I can’t eat it.

In any case, my jumble of left-over baking bits was mostly from Christmas. 2019.

I had to bring up the stool to reach the high shelf where I put all the should-be-inaccesible temptations. I found partials of: graham cracker crumbs, marshmallows, semi-sweet chocolate chips, vanilla, brown sugar, self-rising flour, regular flour, a box of vanilla pudding, a1/2 bar of Bakers white baking chocolate, two different types of cocoa powder and three different types of sprinkles. 

Among the rediscovered hidden treasures were Tastefully Simple brown sugar salt and blueberry vanilla salt. I was also in possession of an overripe banana, cream cheese, almond milk, butter, two baby apples, honey roasted peanuts and sour cream.

Considered seemingly viable choices lead me to a dismal Google exploration conclusion.

I had almost all the ingredients to make something. Unfortunately, these particular ingredients made nothing. (Nothing normal, anyway.)

Banana Pudding? No wafers

Banana Bread? Not enough bananas.

Cheesecake? No eggs or heavy cream or any type of cream.

Chocolate chip cookies? Sigh, no eggs.

Apple cobbler? No white sugar. Besides the pitiful apples might not even make a cup, leaving more cobbler than apple.

S’mores? No graham crackers, but I did have a couple cups of pre-crushed crumbs.

Where my mind went after about an hour of recipe search:

I can almost make a cheese cake. I don’t have eggs, but I do have an overripe banana. Didn’t I read somewhere once that bananas could replace eggs? Hmm. Suppose I mashed the fruit to replace the eggs? Mashed banana has a tighter consistency than eggs, so it seemed logical to me. Plus, banana cheesecake didn’t sound too bad.

Suppose, I added some chocolate chips? Ooo, banana chocolate chip cheesecake! “Now, we’re getting somewhere,” I announced to Blu. I received a yawn and a “why-did-you-disturb-me?” slow blink of indifference. “Maybe not,” I thought.

“Well, how about a S’mores pie?” If I used the vanilla pudding and powdered cocoa, made a graham cracker crust and plopped some chips and mallows on top? Maybe. Then, I had second thoughts about making a pie because I’d have to eat it. All. By myself.

Aha! I can make mini cakes in my 6-cup pan. There’s some portion control, right there. So, that’s what I did, sort of.

I made graham cracker crust cupcake shells. While those were baking, I slid back to the cheesecake idea. Yeah. That was it. The perfect tasty experiment. I mean, you know, all the pieces were yummy, so…. Banana Chocolate Chip Almost No Bake Cheesecake.

On my quest, I’d come across a tip that indicated using marshmallow fluff in a cheesecake batter helps it firm. I didn’t have any of that. I did have some humidity-melded marshmallows and the forethought to halve the closest recipe I could locate.

Crust (from the box): 1.25 cups graham cracker crumbs, 4 tbs butter

Filling (adapted): 4 oz cream cheese, 1 mashed overripe banana, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla.

Topping: 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. (Because that’s all I had.)

I placed each graham cup in one of 5 Pampered Chef small prep bowls. Remember, portion control. I planned on eating the 6th.

Flopped some filling in each, sprinkled chips and considered. Seemed to be lacking something. I still had a hankering for s’mores. So, a glob of mushy marshmallow landed on top.

When I was done assembling, a 15-second microwave run heated the taste-test. For some ridiculous reason, I saw the bowl of gooey goodness and decided to  mix it all up. It wasn’t baaaaaddd. There just weren’t any clear-cut flavors, and the brownish, lumpy presentation was lacking. I ate it.

I tried being a bit more reasonable on Sunday. Heated for same 15 seconds, let cool for a minute and spoon scooped through the layers. There’s no logical reason why it tasted so much better. In fact, I ended up eating two on Sunday. Not back-to-back, though. Portion control.

I’ve got this one on the counter waiting for me to nuke after I finish blogging tonight.

Quote for the Week:

Pantry Raid, 04/02/2020

Last week’s Pantry Raid was pretty darn good, if I say so myself. And, I do.

(Brought to you by: Ibotta, Imperfect Foods, Knorr & Kraft)

As luck would have it, Saturday morning, March 14th, I made a long thought-out decision to try Imperfect Foods home delivery service. 10 days later Michigan debuted its Stay at Home order.

Aiming to supplement my current meal delivery service, I signed on for the small box plan, every-other-week. My main goals were fruit and salad, which would allow me to stretch a 6-meal plan into a 9-meal plan.

Delivery was scheduled for Friday, March 27th.  Despite the pandemic decree, my order was only delayed one day, and only shorted one item – both with great customer service and advanced notice.

Each week a standard but varied box is pre-filled for you. If there is something you’d rather not have on the list, it’s easy to switch out choices. If you want more that week, you can order more.

Shopping day is Monday. Unsure of how it worked, I logged in at the exact time ‘the store’ opened. I immediately swapped out carrots. I love carrots, but I’d overdone carrots in the preceding weeks. Cantaloupe, was a more appealing option.

Blood oranges were the first item listed. The notation indicated 4 ct in a box. 4 oranges sounded like too many, so I reduced that to 2 on the counter and moved on. Working down the list, broccoli (1 ct) was a keeper, as were the container of grape tomatoes (1 ct). I reduced pears (2 ct) to 1 and increased sweet potatoes (1 ct) to 2.

Then, I changed my mind. 4 blood oranges would be nice. Oranges keep for a while. Unfortunately, when I tried to change my 2 back to 4, a pop-up message informed me that there was a limit of 3. That was a bit of disappointment, but understandable.

I figured it was like online clearance shopping at Kohl’s; just because it’s in your cart doesn’t mean it’s yours. You have to check out first, and sometimes someone else bought that thing you wanted before you did.

Total box including shipping came to $15.43. Not a huge savings, but it was going to show up at my door, so I was happy.

I was honestly over-whelmed when the bright pink box arrived containing way more than I thought it would. 3 huge stalks of broccoli, 1 cantaloupe, grape tomatoes, 10 sweet potatoes and…. 14 blood oranges.

The little counter clicker wasn’t a “Do you want 1, 2, 3, or 4 blood oranges?” question. It was a “How many sets of 4 blood oranges do you want?” question. That should have equaled 12. There were 2 bonus. There were no pears, but I knew about that, and was immediately credited the $0.85. Adjusted cost: $14.53.

I had a good chuckle after I pulled it all out and assessed the situation. I also paid closer attention to the (ct) counts while ‘shopping’ yesterday.

My next box comes Friday. I still have 2 blood oranges, 5 sweet potatoes and ½ container of tomatoes to go this week. I’d say that’s pretty perfect timing.

***

Interested? Use my link to sign-up and get $10 to shop and create your own perfect imperfect box. You can thank me later 🙂 http://imprfct.us/v/jodi_995

Quote for the week: 2020 04 07 nows as good at time as any imperfect foods jakorte

An Ibotta rebate made the Knorr rice free. I got back $139 back from Ibotta in 2019. You should try that, too.

My Referral Link: https://ibotta.onelink.me/iUfE/8cc13c64

 My Referral Code: vuodlbm

 

 

An Anniversary, An Eggplant Plan

After the phone calls, after dinner, we settled into our comfortable spots.

During a commercial, we started talking about where we’d go for our 5th anniversary dinner. There was no contest, really. Sal’s Italian Restaurant in Tecumseh. Close to our almost-in-town townhouse, it had been a great favorite Friday night, take-away spot for us.

It was the first place outside of New York, I’d ever had a good Italian Wedding soup. The garlic bread was perfectly garlick-y, beautifully buttery and sublimely sprinkled with parm. The red sauce was perfectly saucy, from an East Coast perspective.

Sal’s eggplant parmesan was wonderfully and deliciously authentic, too.

Not so long before Jeff brought me to Sal’s, I made this dish for him. We’d been dating about a month, and it was supposed to be our first stay-in, dinner-in, at my Okemos apartment.

It was awful. Bitter and mushy; with raised forks, we watched each other watching gooey, grayish globs weeping through the tines.

He asked me how long I’d salted it before cooking. I accompanied my dumbfounded look with the teary explanation that I had just winged it. “Gotta salt it,” Jeff sagely advised. “Even then, it’s not so great, sometimes.” We went out for Mexican.

I was so enthralled by Sal’s version, that Jeff happily tried a bite. Even though he’d been down that road before. Even though he wasn’t fond of that particular nightshade. Even if it had been salted, fried and layered with cheese, his aversion to eggplant rivalled my aversion to cauliflower, even if it had been salted, fried and smothered in cheese.

Sitting in Sal’s, I watched Jeff contemplatively chew for a bit, and laughed when he decisively summarized, “I’d rather have the chicken.”

Jeff mentioned Evans Street Station as an alternative. Because we’d already be dressed up for our church photo, I considered that. It was so sweet of him to mention the fanciest restaurant in town. A few years after opening, it was still on our to-do list. We just hadn’t made it there, yet.

“Maybe, some other time,” I smiled. “I’m really missing Sal’s. It’s the first place we ever went to dinner in town. So, that kind of makes it ‘our place’, too.”

“You won’t get any arguments from me!” Jeff grinned.

Quote for the Week: 2019 07 16 The best celebrations aren’t always the most expensive jakorte