The Bad Mommy Cooks—Maryland

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Maryland

Ingredients

  • For the sliders:
  • 16 oz lump crab meat
  • 1 c. Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c. mayo
  • 2 TBSP parsley, minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Slider buns
  • lettuce
  • For the Pimento cheese:
  • 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 c. mayo
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
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Like Virginia is for lovers, Maryland is for crab cakes. Who doesn’t like a nice crab cake to usher in the summer months? Well if you don’t, keep moving…nothing to see here.

We were lucky enough to pull Maryland from the hat the same week that we actually were going to Ocean City, Maryland. Since I’ve already started a blog about Places to Eat in OC, you could say that our family has become well versed in Maryland cuisine. This weekend we ate at some of our favorite places; Longboard Cafe, Higgins Crab House , and Uber Bagels, in addition to a new place, The Big Easy on 60.

Still, for the sake of our state blog, I felt I needed to give you all a recipe that we have personally made in our house—crab cake sliders. Maryland is to crab as Maine is to lobster—you can’t go 10 feet without seeing a sign advertising fresh Maryland crabs, like these All You Can Eat crab that we had at Higgins:

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Nice, huh? We had 13 dozen. It took almost two hours to eat (the quietest dinner we ever have is when we have crab…everyone is very focused on their work…except for my son who, without fail, will order something ridiculous from a crab house like ribs or wings…)

Anyway, these crab cake sliders are a house favorite. We got the recipe at the ONE cooking class Hubby and I attended together. Usually Hubby goes with his friend and they go out for drinks afterward and I’m never asked to tag along, but this one time I was allowed. Actually, I think I insisted on going cuz I wanted to see what the big fuss was all about. I haven’t been back since because, in case you didn’t know, cooking class is boring. 🙄

But at any rate, during that class we had some good seafood, including these crab cake sliders with pimento cheese, and I’ve strong armed Hubby into making them several times, including recently, counting as our Maryland meal. By the way, if you are one of those weirdos who don’t like crab, you can use lobster or shrimp. You could probably even use salmon if you don’t like either of those. The recipe includes a lot of chopping (hence why I have Hubby make them), but it’s worth it because the sliders are incredibly filling and you will have enough to easily feed six people. Unless they’re pigs and then you could probably only feed three. 🐖

You start off with some lump crab meat. You can either extract it from the crab on your own, or, the much easier way, buy a can of lump crab meat. Just make sure the pieces are coarsely chopped and not too big. If you use shrimp you need to put it in the blender to get the same effect.

Mix mayo, parsley, lemon juice, dry mustard, salt, and black pepper. (This recipe originally included 2 chopped green onions—I’ve opted to leave them out since I hate them…you do what you want.) Incorporate the crab (or shrimp). Add bread crumbs and fold into mixture.

img_1011 Divide into equal size portions, shape into patties, and place on baking tray. Stick those in the fridge for about a half hour or so to get them to form.

img_1012 This is when you prep the pimento cheese. By the way, this cheese tastes great spread on Triscuits. It’s so easy to make, too. You combine shredded sharp cheddar cheese, softened cream cheese, black pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, mayo, sugar, and a chopped red pepper, and you are good to go:

img_1014 Refrigerate that while the crab cakes cook. You can cook them on a skillet, or use the air fryer like we did:

img_1019 Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown and then assemble the sliders. Place on slider buns, top with pimento cheese and lettuce, and ENJOY!

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The Bad Mommy Eats OC—The Big Easy on 60

We’ve passed this restaurant a million times on our visits to Ocean City (mostly on our way to the Walmart in Berlin—it always seems like we forgot to bring something). I kept mentioning it to Hubby that I really wanted to eat there because it looked like a fun and hip place. Okay, maybe I’m not up on what’s “hip”, but the cool staircase in the front and the open patio caught my eye—kind of “Antebellum-ish”. Hubby ignored my demands until our most recent trip. He was tired of “the same old thing”, so I presented The Big Easy on 60 as an alternative to “the same old thing”.

This restaurant boasts a New Orleans flare 🎭…of course with a heavy emphasis on seafood. No matter, Hubby was up for it, and despite the fact it was a blazing hot day, he was even cool with sitting outside on the covered patio! I know, I was as shocked as you are. But he really couldn’t complain. The breeze was perfect, the music was playing, and the overhead fans were circling—the patio was really relaxing. I felt like I could take nap there, especially since I had just whooped Hubby and Little Miss’s butts in mini-golf. 🥇

And even better, it was “Happy Hour” with $5 Apps. Of course the drinks we got weren’t included in “Happy Hour” (they never are…we seem to have expensive drink tastes). I got some kind of Mardi Gras Mule and Hubby got a bourbon Smash. I forgot the actual names and apparently I can’t pull up the cocktail menu online, so here are some pictures:

We decided to get the Mardi Gras tots with a chipotle dipping sauce to take advantage of the $5 Apps, though.

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Crab, bacon, and tots rolled up into a tasty ball. Not what we were expecting at all, but still delicious.

It was a little bit disappointing that they said only lunch was available (it was about 3:00 in the afternoon)—I had wanted to try the shrimp and grits on the dinner menu and Hubs wanted the Jambalya. Neither were available on the lunch menu. 😢Hubby and I both settled on the Shrimp Po’Boy sandwich instead:

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It was nice and crispy and very filling, but we agreed that it was on the salty side and there was not enough sauce on it. While it was still good, we’ve had better, so that was kind of disappointing especially since we had been looking forward to something else altogether.

Little Miss went in a different direction with steamed clams and shrimp:

This is my psycho child putting Tabasco sauce in the clam shell and shaking it up before eating:

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😱 Yikes. I wouldn’t even eat clams, let alone put Tabasco sauce on them.

All in all it was a decent meal, if only a bit disappointing. I would really like to come back during dinner time and get my shrimp and grits (and Hubby can get the Jambalaya). Just as long as it’s a relaxing meal on the patio, we can’t go wrong, right?

Atmosphere: 9 🍴out 10. Did I mention how relaxed it was?🧘🏻‍♀️

View: 5 🍴out of 10. Pretty much a view of the street.😩

Food: 6 🍴out of 10. Drinks were 9 out of 10. My mule was really fantastic.

Value: 9 🍴out of 10. Got a lot for your buck—and don’t forget, it was Happy Hour, too.

Overall: 7 🍴out of 10—I’d go back and try the dinner menu.

The Bad Mommy Eats OC—Higgins Crab House North

We went back to OC this past weekend and I realized that I haven’t really been blogging much about the places we’ve eaten there in the off-season. It almost seemed unfair to rate places that weren’t running at full capacity. But now it’s beach season and everyone is firing on all cylinders, so back to the reviews.

Higgins Crab House is a family favorite. We first ate at this establishment in 2015—Higgins Crab House South, though. They have a great outdoor deck on top of the building fully equipped with handwashing stations where you can get glimpses of the ocean. This is where my son decided his best course of action at a crab house was to order the ribs. 😒 Meanwhile, the rest of us got the AYCE (All You Can Eat) crab and spent hours picking away at them while he twiddled his thumbs. Look how thrilled he was to wait for us:

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Hey, crab eating is serious business! We weren’t leaving until we couldn’t move. He was the dumb one who ordered the wrong thing. (He also has been known to order shrimp at a BBQ joint and chicken wings at an Italian restaurant.) 🙄

We visited the North restaurant for the first time last year on my daughter’s birthday and once again, Mr. Dope ordered a Caesar salad. I wasn’t feeling crabby that day, so I think I got AYCE shrimp which was delicious. Still, a lot of work. You really need to be feeling it to make the AYCE worth your while. It won’t do to push your plate away after two or three refills. You need to go all in and wear your eating pants to this establishment. Oh, and don’t wear anything particularly nice—you will be very sad when drawn butter splashes on your new white shirt or you get old Bay seasoning on your pants. 😬

The highlight of this particular trip to Higgins (other than stuffing ourselves silly) was the stray cat who kept coming up to our outdoor table. 🐈 Hubby got really mad that my daughter and I kept feeding him, but he looked soooooo hungry and pathetic. And he kept coming back for more, which REALLY ticked Hubby off…he hates when I feed stray animals because he says that only encourages them. The people at the table next to us fed him, too, so it wasn’t only our fault.

Anyway, my daughter has been dying to go back since last year, and they’ve been closed for most of the off-season, so we took a trip there this past weekend, much to her delight. We left the other child home (he probably would have order chicken parmigiana or something…) so it was an All You Can Eat Crab-fest at our table. The entire table was covered with crab, (and a couple ears of corn), barely enough room for our glasses.

No cats this time—considering we were inside, it would have been a little weird, too. Instead we were able to focus solely on our eating project, dozens of Old Bay seasoned crabs. Thankfully, there are paper towels at the table and you can wipe your hands off every now and again, but to wash them at the North restaurant requires a trip inside to the bathroom which is in an awkward spot near the kitchen. I always feel like I’m some place I shouldn’t be when I go to that bathroom.

So next time you’re looking for a great AYCE place in OC, check out either Higgins—you won’t be disappointed.

Atmosphere: 7 🍴out 10. Nothing spectacular, but a fun place to eat.

View: 8 🍴out of 10 for South, 5 out of 10 for North. (Nothing to see here…except for hungry cats..)

Food: 8 🍴out of 10. (There really is no way to go wrong with AYCE steamed crab) 🦀

Value: 9 🍴out of 10 (I can’t stress enough…bring your eating pants!)

California Rice Bowls

The Bad Mommy Cooks—California

Yes! We’ve been waiting for this state ever since we came back from this state…ironically, 1 year ago. We discovered some of the best food on our 2017 California trip—Carnitas, guacamole, Mexican street corn, churros, and a Mexican breakfast buffet that nearly made Hubby wept tears of joy.

But like I mentioned in my Sushi blog…this makes things difficult when choosing what to make for that state. With all those choices, how do we pick just one? Well, you spend endless hours on Pinterest while calling suggestions to your family who are too busy watching You Tube videos and playing Song Pop to answer you, so you just choose the first recipe you pinned and pray that it’s a hit.

Spoiler alert: it actual was.

I am just as surprised as you are…believe me. Especially since the theme of most of the California recipes (besides “avocado”) seemed to be “healthy”. And members of my family are not big fans of “healthy” food. I’m sure they were afraid I was going to pick one of the many recipes with “Tofu” in the title. I didn’t, of course (who likes tofu????), but I really didn’t think they would like Veggie Avocado Chicken Bowls, either.

This recipe was somewhat of a twist on the Cuban beef bowls we got from Plated. Except there was no beef. And no pineapple. And it wasn’t Cuban. Okay, so the similarities are there was rice and we ate it out of bowls…

Anyhoo…Hubby and I went to the store for the ingredients. I hadn’t really read the recipe thoroughly at that point in time, which I was chastised by Hubby for. (Sometimes he studies recipes like there’s going to be a quiz or something…) So at that juncture, I had no idea what I was supposed to do with the chicken. When he asked me how I planned to make the chicken, I dismissed the thought with a wave of my hand and told him I would just grill it. Plain. Without seasoning. I thought I saw his brain explode. There are three things about me that Hubby cannot stand. #1. My inability to record checks properly and balance a checkbook. #2. My refusal to change a light bulb. #3. My lack of sufficient seasoning when I cook.

(Here’s a secret: sometimes I just do all of the above to irk the ever-loving crap out of him. Hey, after 21 years of marriage without anything “real” to fight about, sometimes you have to push some buttons for your own personal amusement.)

So the suggestion that I wasn’t planning to season the chicken was nearly enough to give him a stroke. (Sometimes I have to pull back on the teasing…I guess.) He spent the entire ride home from the store making suggestions on how I might season the chicken. He disappeared for a few minutes after we got home (most likely because I was unpacking the groceries…one of my pet peeves) and in that time I managed to read the recipe properly and season the chicken. Once he popped back into the kitchen and gathered his various herbs and spices in order to instruct me on my seasoning deficiency, I was able to smugly tell him that it was already done.

And boy was it done. There is a $hit-ton of spices in this chicken recipe: garlic, basil, parsley, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder, red pepper, black pepper, and of course, salt. I combined the spices with olive oil and stirred it up before marinating it for a half an hour and then putting the cubes of chicken on skewers. (P.S. if you use wooden skewers you need to soak them in water for about a half hour before using so they don’t burn on the grill.)

 

 

 

While the chicken was  marinating, I started the rice. You can use basmati or Jasmine rice. I opted for basmati rice—the few times I have made it in the past it has come out perfect. This time was no exception—yah, me!

As the rice simmered on the stove, I cut the zucchini and prepared it for grilling. Meaning, I put it in a Ziploc baggie with olive oil and salt and pepper and shook it up. Unfortunately, the grill basket that I used took way too long to grill it (the chicken was done before the zucchini), so I got a chance to use the air fryer that had been neglected for the better part of two weeks. I also cut up the grape tomatoes…the recipe left them plain, but I tossed them in a little balsamic vinaigratte dressing. How’s that for seasoning things up, Hubs?

 

 

 

 

I also skinned and mashed up the avocado at that time. This is also where I deviated from the recipe. The recipe said to just add lemon juice to the avocado—I added lemon juice, lime juice, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic to make a quick and easy guacamole. Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know Hubby will interject hereto mention his guac is the best and his guac takes hours to prepare. And it probably is the best, but this wasn’t bad for a three minute guac whipped up at the last minute.

The most difficult part of this whole meal was getting everything done at the same time, but eventually, we were ready to eat. I put out all the ingredients so everyone could assemble their own bowls. Oddly enough, the recipe calls for walnuts and blue cheese sprinkles for the top of the rice bowls. I laid them out, not sure if anyone would use them. It seemed like a weird combo.

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Yet, it was strangely delicious and received an enthusiastic 3 thumbs up. (Child #2 was in a cranky mood and recovering from strep throat so she wasn’t giving anything but an endless bowl of ice cream thumbs up that day.)

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I highly recommend this California meal. You can change up the veggie ingredients if you want, and I’m sure you could make it with beef (or tofu) if you wanted. Bon Appetite!

The Bad Mommy Cooks—California

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1 c. basmati rice
  • 2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 c. of grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c. blue cheese
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinaigratte

Instructions

  1. Soak wooden skewers for 1/2 hour.
  2. Mix the garlic, smoked paprika, red pepper, black pepper, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, parsley, and basil with 1/4 c. of olive oil. Toss in cut up chicken. Marinate for 1/2 hour.
  3. Cut up zucchini. Place in baggie with remainder of olive oil and salt and pepper. Shake and place on grill. (Or air fryer like I did.)
  4. Make rice according to package directions.
  5. Skewer chicken and cook on grill until middle is no longer pink.
  6. Cut up grape tomatoes. (Feel free to toss in balsamic...or not.)
  7. Peel avocados and mash. Add remainder of garlic, 1/2 tsp onion powder, lime juice, lemon juice, and salt & pepper to taste.
  8. Assemble rice bowls and enjoy!
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The Bad Mommy Cooks—Sushi

So I know it’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me about my cooking endeavors. Well, the reason is…it has literally been two weeks since we actually cooked dinner at home to eat. Other than the bowls of cereal and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, that is. It’s been two weeks of non-stop action—school events, baseball games, taxiing to friends’ houses. There’s been barely enough time to actually eat, let alone plan a meal and cook it. Heck, I haven’t been on Pinterest in days! We haven’t even been to the grocery store in almost two weeks either. But rest assured, the almighty Summer Break is upon us and we will finally have more Free Time…or so we hope.

I was finally scrolling through Pinterest the other day in search of our California meal since we picked California next. California is one of those states with so many choices that it is going to be difficult to decide. (More on that tomorrow.) But anyway, as I was perusing, I came across a recipe for California rolls…sushi. Now my daughter is a sushi junkie. She loves California rolls and she loves to go out for sushi. I’ll eat sushi, but no one else in the house will even touch the stuff, so her “going out for sushi” rarely happens. I buy it for her at the grocery store, but it’s one of those things that only stays fresh for a day, so she rarely gets the sushi she loves.

Anyway, I came across this recipe for sushi and I got a brilliant idea. Why not make our own sushi?

Of course, making sushi is not a simple task. (Is anything I do a simple task????) It starts with a sushi making kit which I promptly researched. The sushi making kit consists of a bamboo mat to roll the sushi and a wooden spoon. Oh and chopsticks. That’s it, but apparently it is impossible to make sushi without this bamboo mat. Side note: aforementioned bamboo mat is impossible to clean.

Also, every single person’s review on Amazon said you WILL mess up the first few pieces of sushi you make. NO ONE gets it right the first time. Of course, I would have loved to be the first person to get it right on the first try, but you guys know me.

I purchased the sushi making kit from Amazon on Sunday, resulting in yet ANOTHER package arriving to our house and Hubby’s eyebrows raising in fury. (Damn you, Prime! You make things too easy!) The sushi making kit sat on the kitchen table for four days until I had a spare minute for this project. That’s when I sent hubby to the store for cucumbers, avocado, seaweed papers, and imitation crab meat (which he said “you better not sneak into my food”—he hates the idea of imitation crab meat when the real thing is available…and ten times more expensive). The seaweed wrap can be found in the aisle with other Asian foods…no need to go to a special store for it.

I did not ask him to pick up sushi rice. I (wrongly) assumed I could use regular rice to make the sushi, but the recipe specifically called for sushi rice. Back to the store I went… (I proceeded to run into half the town while I was there, thus making the trip about a half hour longer than it needed to be.)

When I got home, my daughter had a friend over and they were incredibly enthusiastic about making sushi. They were also enthusiastic about FILMING the sushi making project and posting it on You Tube. Now, most people who know me understand that I hate pictures of myself. What I despise even more is VIDEO of myself. The idea of my sushi disaster being filmed for posterity was a little more than I could bear, but they were so excited about it…how could I say no?

Before they got to the rolling of the sushi, though, there was prep work to be done to the ingredients. The rice, first of all, needed to be made. I generally screw up rice left and right, but the sushi rice wasn’t too bad even though it was kind of mushy, but that was helpful later on. You need to mix rice vinegar (1 TBSP) and salt (1/4 tsp) and sugar (1/2 tsp) in a bowl. Once the sugar is dissolved, add to the rice. Stir to mix evenly. Then the crab needed to be chopped and mixed with 2 TBSP of mayo and a tsp of lemon juice.

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I stuck that in the fridge to chill a little while I peeled and sliced the avocado, and cut and seeded the cucumber. Full disclosure: I have no idea how to actually seed the cucumber, so I just sliced the middle out. I think it was a seedless cucumber anyway.

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As ready as I’ll ever be, I called the girls to assemble the sushi and roll it. It was at this point in time that I should have popped up to the bathroom to put my contacts in and put a little make-up on and brush my hair, but alas, I was too worried about the impending sushi disaster to think about what I looked like. Hopefully no one will ever watch the video. Chances of that are good considering my daughter still hasn’t edited the video yet.

So since I don’t have a video to show you guys, I will have to give step by step instructions. First you lay the bamboo mat down, place a piece of plastic wrap on top of it, and then a piece of the seaweed. You then spread the rice mixture over the top of the seaweed in a thin layer, patting it down with the bamboo spoon. When that is pressed into the seaweed, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and pat those down as well.

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(This is the girls’ sushi…you need to pat it down more than this as we soon learned.)

Then you flip the seaweed over (this is the reason the rice needs to be stuck well to the seaweed…otherwise it goes all over). At this point in time we thought we would be clever and put another piece of plastic wrap in order to flip the seaweed—but this just led to the problem of plastic wrap being rolled up INTO the sushi when we rolled up the bamboo mat. So…don’t do that.

On the empty side of the seaweed, you fill the sushi roll with the ingredients. DO NOT OVERFILL! This is where we also went wrong the first time. If you overfill, it is really hard to get a tight roll on the sushi and you end up with sushi that looks like this:

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Yeah…that was the first attempt.

Armed with knowledge from our failed first attempt, I tried a second attempt. This was much better, but still could use some work:

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Because the rice was still warmish, I stuck the roll in the fridge before cutting it.

 

The result was pretty decent tasting sushi—even though it was nowhere near as nice and compact as the sushi we get at restaurants. (Yeah that sushi at the top isn’t mine.) And we had quite a few laughs trying to make the sushi, so I think we’ll keep trying to get it right.

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Sushi

Ingredients

  • 1 c. sushi rice
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 small cucumber, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cut into strips
  • 1 package of imitation crab meat
  • 2 TBSP of mayo
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • sesame seeds
  • Nori (seaweed wrap)
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Why Dance Recitals Are the Worst

I realized this weekend that my poor daughter is the unfortunate recipient of a woman who was not meant to be a “girl” mom. Sorry, kid. I am never going to get excited about “girlie” things like make-up and hairstyles. I will not make a big deal over her Sweet Sixteen, her prom, or even her wedding. I’m going to roll my eyes at the girl drama and the giggling over boys. And I’m DEFINITELY NOT going to ever understand dance recitals.

Yesterday, she had her “dance” recital…even though she doesn’t dance. She goes to gymnastics classes, and for the past four years or so, she went to a gymnastics school THAT DIDN’T DO RECITALS. No costumes, no dress rehearsals, no dance routines. Just gymnastics. She went every week and learned gymnastics…not a three minute routine to be performed at the end of the year. It was perfect.

Unfortunately, the weekly trip gymnastic school was a bit of a trek and it was wearing us down…so we found something closer. The trade off was that this school had an end of the year recital. Now when she was about five years old, she did ballet for a hot minute and there was an end of the year recital. She had a poufy tutu, glittery tiara, and a pair of fairy wings. The kids swayed back and forth on the stage for about three minutes. Some just sat on the stage and cried. It was adorable—an enjoyable hour out of my life that had actually brought a tear to my eye despite my hardened heart, so I figured…how bad could this recital be?

Holy crap, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

When I did gymnastics in the stone ages, they held the recital in the high school auditorium and I wore a black leotard and we bopped around to “Eye of the Tiger” while doing one handed cartwheels and front walkovers. Afterwards my mom took pictures with the Polaroid and we went to Buxton’s for ice cream. Sure, I was pretty awful at gymnastics, but at least my parents didn’t have to go broke to watch and “celebrate” my mediocrity.

That’s what I had been prepared for. That’s NOT what happened.

First off, the classes spent the entire YEAR prepping for these routines. They hardly learned ANYTHING else but the routine. My kid didn’t even learn anything she didn’t already know how to do because they were so focused on the recital routine. I basically paid tuition for  her to learn a three minute routine. 😒

A three minute routine…with an $80 costume. A mesh shirt, tank top and shiny leopard shorts…that’s $80???? Really?????

In addition, we paid a whooping $22.50 a person for these tickets. Because the high school auditorium isn’t good enough anymore. Nope. These kids need to have their recital on a “theater” stage. I’ve gone to concerts whose tickets cost less than these recital tickets. Like famous people with boatloads of talent concerts. In much better venues. It shouldn’t cost a family of four almost $200 to go see their kid do a tumblesault on a mat in shiny shorts and a tank top for God’s sake.

And the emails…oh God, the emails. Every single freaking day we got emails. First it was about volunteering to help out. I laughed so hard when I got that one that I seriously peed myself. Spend my day off with a bunch of screaming and giggling girls from the ages of 3 to 17? No thanks, I’d rather scrub the toilets with my toothbrush.🤨

After that came the emails about buying tickets. Not only were these tickets expensive, you were given a timeslot that you could wait in line to choose your seats for those tickets! Bonus…if you volunteered to help out you got to pick your tickets early!

Uh what?😳

I really didn’t care where my seat was as long as I could see my kid on stage and the seat was in the theater. I refused to join the line that formed in the rain in front of the dance school the day the tickets went on sale. I bought my tickets three days later. (By the way, we were in the 8th row…practically on top of the stage.)😛

But the emails didn’t stop there. Next came the emails about the “studio run through day” and the dress rehearsal and picture day and all the days that the actual classes that I paid for were cancelled to accommodate  these special days.🤔

And even then it didn’t end. Finally came the emails about what tights to wear and how to do your hair and how to do your make-up so it was “stage ready”. Those emails really made me roll my eyes…I would be lucky if I could get my kid’s hair in a ponytail, let alone get “stage make-up” on her. But of course, there were a lot of “girl” moms following these instructions to a T. At the dress rehearsal, Hubby and I watched with open mouths as a mom rolled in a suitcase the size of ME and started pulling her daughter’s costumes and make-up out of it. There was another one who had her daughter’s costume changes on a rack that she wheeled into the building! She had a color coded chart that displayed which accessories and costumes went with which routine. I bet she even changed the kid’s hair for each routine, too. YOU SHOULD NEVER NEED A COLOR CODED CHART FOR A DANCE RECITAL UNLESS YOUR KID IS ON DANCING WITH THE STARS!!!!!😱

If that wasn’t enough torture, finally the recital day came. The damn thing was so freaking loooooong that they broke it down into two interminably long shows, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, presumably so that parents didn’t have to sit through five hours of a dance recital. My kid was in one class with one routine…but lucky us…her class was in BOTH shows! Why????????😩😩😩

Side note: I was the worst parent ever and I just let a mom friend whose daughter was in the class take my child to the first show. I’m sorry, I have better things to do on a Saturday than watch a bunch of pre-teens in too tight costumes leap around on stage for hours on end. I only endured one half of the second recital and let me tell you…it was WAY TOO LONG.

I get it…there’s a lot of work that goes into pulling one of these shows off, but again I ask…why do it? Do they think the parents will be upset if they don’t? I bet you more than half the parents would celebrate a no-recital policy. I personally would be willing to pay MORE just not to have to suffer though another recital. Sure some of the kids were really good, but most were just average. Some were even more uncoordinated than I am. I felt bad for these kids. There they were, up on stage in front of everyone, dancing away and most people weren’t even watching them…they were looking at their phones and praying for the intermission so they could leave.😕

I’m sure those die-hard “girl” moms out there are saying, “But I WANT to see my darling princess all dressed up! I want to see what she learned all year! I WANT to buy her a plastic trophy and get all excited about her ‘special day’! I don’t care if she’s completely sub-par at dancing and has no real talent at all! And I want to pay a $hitload of money, too!”🤩

Not me. I love her and I think she’s beautiful, but I want to see her do what she excels at. I want to make a big deal about THOSE things. I want to see her sing a solo in the school concert. I want to see her make honor roll. I want to watch in amazement at her You Tube video editing skills. Sure, she can do more gymnastics stunts than I ever could, but I’m not going to lie to her and exclaim “Oh my GOD you were AMAZING!” like the mom on the sidewalk in front of the theater did to her kid (who was by all accounts, pretty unforgettable and actually tripped over her own two feet). They’re NOT amazing. They’re…okay.

What are we setting these kids up for when we constantly celebrate mediocrity? Why do we have to give up eight solid hours on an already packed weekend to watch other people’s kids be average? Why are we showcasing EVERY FREAKING THING THESE KIDS DO??????

By the way…I confess that I DID get her flowers and make a big deal about the fact she kept her “stage face” on and smiled and got through the routine despite the fact she was recovering from a week of strep throat and was full of antibiotics and Advil. To me, that’s a bigger accomplishment than anything. She could have come home or refused to do the recital and let her classmates down because she felt like crap, but she pushed through and I made sure she knew that was a big deal in my eyes.

See, I’m not the worst mom in the world…I’m just average…like the restof you.

Wisconsin bratwursts

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Wisconsin

My house reeks right now. No, the dog didn’t poop in the hallway again. The kids didn’t leave their gym clothes in the living room, either. What happened is I cooked and I am officially the worst cook on the planet. I know…you thought I was getting better at this cooking thing, but apparently you were wrong. This week, I messed up cheese.

Okay, maybe it’s not as simple as me messing up cheese, but it’s pretty damn close. We picked Wisconsin and I asked my aunt in Wisconsin for some advice on our menu. She told me “brats, beer, and fried cheese curds”. Which totally makes sense if you know anything about Wisconsin. It’s as cold as %^&* up there and there’s not too much to do other than drink beer while watching sporting events (either on TV or in person…although I can’t imagine how anyone could stand watching a football game in subzero temps). And of course as everyone knows, Wisconsin is full of cheeseheads. So cheese and beer it is. And bratwurst because we have to have actual food.

Now neither hubby nor I are big beer drinkers. In fact, I kind of despise the taste of beer. But in the name of science (or whatever this experiment is), I decided I would suck it up and drink the beer. I had this brilliant idea that we could sample different beers from Wisconsin. I googled Wisconsin breweries and quite a few came up (including Miller which is pretty much the only beer I will drink). Some of them had interesting names like Grumpy Troll Brewery and Horny Goat Brewery. Armed with a list, we headed to Joe Canal’s, the biggest liquor store in our area. They had to have some of these, right? Wrong.

They had none. Nada. Zilch. They had plenty of New Jersey Microbrews and all the big names, but none of the Wisconsin beers. Except for Miller of course. I did not want to just cop out and drink Miller. I went to two more liquor stores before I found a beer called Old Milwaukee. I’m sure those of you familiar with beer have heard of this brand, but I have not. The can was kind of interesting:

 

The beer was okay as far as beers go. It took me about 3 hours to finish the can—and I even used some of it in the fried cheese curd recipe.

Yeah, about that. The fried cheese curds are responsible for the smell in the house. When you deep fry cheese coated in beer batter, it leaves the oily smell lingering in the air for DAYS.

In all fairness, I couldn’t find cheese curds. This seems to be a Wisconsin delicacy unavailable in this area. The recipe I used assured me that I could cube a block of cheddar cheese with similar results:

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They lied.

The beer batter was easy to make—1 cup of beer, 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp salt. I realized immediately that the batter was too runny to attach to the cubes of cheese (maybe it would have worked with the cheese curds, but I’ll never know, will I? Because I’m NEVER going to Wisconsin where it’s so damn cold.).

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I added another cup of flour and the batter adhered better to the cubes of cheese, but they were still kind of drippy. Still, I persisted—I sprayed the deep fryer baskets with cooking spray and dropped them in. The results were appalling:

 

 

Yup, that’s melted cheese all over the basket, even after I sprayed it and everything. The batter just slipped right off the damn things and the cheese melted everywhere. And the oil smell was so gross it turned my stomach. I was super annoyed because I broke out the deep fryer for this experiment. If you’ve used a deep fryer before you know what a pain in the arse it is to clean.

I decided to try my beloved air fryer. I had opted not to use it in the first place because I figured this kind of thing needed to be authentic and the air fryer wouldn’t work well, but damn it…I had 20 odd cubes of cheese with batter on them. I was using the air fryer.

Turns out, my first instinct was correct. Here are my air fried cheese “Curds”:

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At this point in time I decided to admit defeat and have hubby cook the brats. I figured it would be in the best interest of the family. He was slicing the onions and peppers anyway…

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He topped the mixture with the bratwursts and some salt and pepper, and popped in in the oven at 375 for 40 minutes. For the last ten minutes, he turned it up to a broil and voila!

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We scooped them onto hoagie rolls and the children promptly informed us that the meal was “disgusting” and “inedible”. I assure you hubby’s contribution was completely edible as it always is (although I didn’t put peppers or onions on mine…I just topped it with sauerkraut and mustard which I’m sure is totally incorrect).

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So the “brats” did not eat the brats. Instead they snuck into the kitchen after I spent 97 hours cleaning up the deep fryer mishap and they dirtied up the kitchen making pasta. How can one make a mess making pasta? Oh, my kids can! Water overflows the pot and burns the electric stovetop. And they leave the strainer in the sink with bits of pasta sticking in it. And we can’t forget the parmesan cheese sprinkled all over the counter. And the table. And the floor. Good thing I drank that beer and I was a little more mellow.

I swear, the next state we do, we’re NOT including them. Especially if they’re going to make pasta anyway.