I feel kind of dumb writing this (Hey hey, that’s never stopped me before!), but I’m doing it anyway because I’m not certain everybody in the world knows about it. I figured everybody did, but I asked Ben and he didn’t before I introduced him to the concept. It’s one of the best and easiest desserts in the universe.*
This is straight from my childhood. I can’t even tell you how many times my mom and I sat at our kitchen table in Arlington Heights and ate low-tech strawberry sundaes (this is the name I just made up) out of the plastic bowls we used (each one was a different color, which might explain my love of Fiestaware). (My dad is not a fan of sweets, except he’s more a fan of sweets than he is of anything involving tomato sauce [I know right?!] and used to eat plain noodles with sugar sprinkled on top when my mom made spaghetti.) There are plenty of fancier ways to make strawberry sundaes, but these are pure, simple, delicious, taste like summer, and are perfect to have in your dessert arsenal for times you want something good but don’t want to do much work.
- 2 pounds of strawberries
- 1/4-ish cup white sugar
- vanilla ice cream (I’ve been digging Breyers All Natural Extra Creamy Vanilla)
Rinse the strawberries and remove stems (or leafies as I want to call them because they never really have stems). Cut strawberries in half (or quarters if the berries are large or you prefer) and put them in a plastic bowl that has a cover. Sprinkle sugar over the strawberries (I always start with 1/3 cup of sugar but before I use it all I think to myself damn, that’s a lot of sugar, and stop when I’ve used approximately 1/4 cup), cover, and shake very well to distribute the sugar. Put the bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours (shaking occasionally if you feel like it — this is fun but not really necessary). You’ll end up with slightly soft, sweet strawberries and delicious juice.
To serve, scoop vanilla ice cream into a bowl and add strawberries and some of the juice. I still eat this the way I did as a kid. I eat the strawberries and then mix the ice cream and strawberry juice together until I have something approximating delicious, homemade, lightly flavored strawberry soft serve. So good. Enjoy!
(You can see a photo of tonight’s sundae here. It’s too bad to post but does provide a visual if you are so inclined.)
*Disclaimer: If I’m going to talk about best desserts in the universe, I have to mention my ultimate favorite best dessert in the universe. Do you have one of those? It’s like this: You’re at a restaurant and you don’t normally order dessert because holy crap restaurants give you so much food and by the time you eat like 1/3 of it you’re so full you know you’re going to spend the next few hours whining about how full you are and you can’t believe you ate so much (I used to refer to this as Indian-restaurant full, because the time I got the most full of my life was at a vegetarian Indian restaurant on Devon in Chicago) and you’re already thinking about getting your fat pants down from the attic, which you totally swore you’d never have to do again. Wait, where was I? You’re at a restaurant and you’re full but you sideways eyeball the dessert menu because you don’t want to order dessert but you have to see if your ultimate favorite best dessert in the universe is there because if and only if it is, you kind of have to order dessert because it’s, like, meant to be. My ultimate favorite best dessert in the universe is bread pudding. Is that a weird one? I love bread pudding more than any other dessert, real or imagined, in the world, and that includes other awesome desserts like cheesecake (our relationship really blossomed when I was pregnant — Denver peeps, the plain cheesecake from Pasquini’s is A++ would eat again), churros, banana won tons, and the best types of pie (such as strawberry rhubarb, French silk, and pumpkin). I’ve made bread pudding exactly once in my life, not because it’s hard but because it’s the kind of thing I really shouldn’t have around, because I’ll just eat the hell out of bread pudding until, well, I have to get my fat pants down from the attic. Maybe I should have a bread pudding party, where I could make a few varieties and invite people over to eat most of it so I can’t. That’s probably weird. I don’t think people are really this into bread pudding, are they? I should sign myself up on Meetup as someone interested in a group about bread pudding. There have to be more of us out there.
The poor little guy has a lingering cough.
Oh, geez. Please ignore the min pin peeing in the background.
We went to our monthly small dog party today. One day soon, I’ll tell you more about my new appreciation of small dogs. (I never liked small dogs before. I think it’s because, like babies, I hadn’t been around them enough to learn how awesome they are.)
Soren gets a little “report card” every day he goes to school. It’s just a form that tells us about all the events of his day, including but not limited to the important things in a toddler’s life: eating, drinking, pooping, and sleeping. (An added benefit of using cloth diapers at day care [I'm planning to write a post about how we do this soon, because we had to figure it out ourselves so this might be helpful information for other people.] is that we get to really know about some of these things, ifyouknowwhatimeanandithinkyoudo.) At the bottom of the page is a blank space his teachers can use to tell us about the highlights of his day. What today’s highlights lacked in specificity they made up for in sheer awesome:
Colored, played, had fun! Good day!
Oh my goodness I love that so much. He brought home his artwork of the day (unfortunately, he gets a little, um, enthusiastic, so there is a hole in the paper; we’re working on the concept of “gentle,” especially in the context of animals) and little chubby arms covered in purple marker.
I find that having a kid is almost entirely moments like this, sweet little things that make you really happy you did it even though you never thought you wanted to until pretty much the last minute. From what I’d read on the internet, I thought being a parent was full of Big Struggles and Drama and Hardship and Losing Yourself (and, apparently, annoyingly and inappropriately capitalizing words for no reason). For me, it’s not like that. It’s just one sweet little moment after another. I love it way more than I ever imagined I would.
Song: Oh No by Mos Def (with Nate Dogg)
We live near a school. In the morning, some people stop their cars at the stop sign and sit there while their kids get out of the car, which often takes approximately 97 minutes per child. I consider this, like all traffic rudeness (don’t get me started on people who don’t use turn signals) as a personal affront of the highest order. When I’m stuck behind one of these buffoons, I am, of course, concerned with the safety of these kids who are being dropped off in such an unsafe and obnoxious manner. I’m also pissed the hell off because I hate when people are assholes on the road and I don’t have time for this shit. I usually do the following: (1) mutter “asshole” to myself; (2) picture Jose Mesa coming along and punching the driver in the face; (3) drive up next to the car, glaring at the driver (I do this because I have to stop at the stop sign, so I can’t skip right to step 4; and (4) pass the car and go on my merry, pissed-off way, as long as it is safe to do so because no children are crossing the street in front of me.
To my dismay, yesterday, while engaged in step 3, I noticed that the driver was a total thug. I determined that he was a thug based on two facts: (1) he was sitting in his car all laid back, like his mind was on his money and his money was on his mind; and (2) he glared back at me so hard it was like he could see right through my soul, which is filled with cobwebs and irrational anger at things that don’t really matter, like people who cut you off from the right lane that ends or who make a good income by writing 900 blog posts a week about dumb stuff they bought from J Crew or Anthropologie. Oh shit, I thought. I offended a thug.
I was relieved when he didn’t come after me. If he were really mad, he would’ve shot my ass right then. I was a little relieved until I realized he didn’t come after me because he was putting a hit out on me. He was calling up his gangsta friends who are going to come find that bitch in the Subaru and shoot up her bitch-ass house. That’ll show her to glare and pass me while I’m parked in the middle of the street. Yo.
I mean, stupider things have happened, right? You don’t ever want to disrespect a thug. That’s how the whole Darrent Williams murder happened. Some gangsta got all pissed off because somebody sprayed champagne on him at a stupid club, and a while later you have people shooting up a limo and a dead Bronco.
Sometimes I have no idea where my overactive imagination ends and my realistic assessment of risk begins. For all I know, dude has hemorrhoids and was trying awkwardly to sit on one of those ass donut things and slipped, accidentally attaining a thug-like driving position.
When I got home, I parked a little in front of our house and a little in front of the neighbors’ house (love you guys!) because that would make it very hard to determine which house related to my car, went inside, and waited to die. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Ben went out to make tracks with his new track-making friend and I hung out with Soren until he went to sleep. Then I did what I always do in these situations. I watched tv shows about people getting killed and scared the ever-loving shit out of myself. If he comes for me in the night, I’ll get all Emily Prentiss on his ass with . . . with . . . um, with a wooden candle holder, which might be the most weapony thing in our house? A big knife? A Rottweiler whose tail tragically was cut too short so he might not see it wagging as he approached (for the record, she and Sadie came to us with cropped tails; we wouldn’t have done it).
It didn’t help that, right in the middle of Criminal Minds, the police copter started circling the neighborhood for an hour. Eventually I paused the show and listened to the police scanner to figure out what was happening. There was something going on a few blocks away with a woman (“female,” in police parlance), hit in the head, blood, people screaming. There was something else nearby, but I didn’t catch what it was (sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s going on because 900 people are talking at once and there was also a fire in another area and arson investigators were called and they were checking for damage to the actual structure blah blah blah). So I never found out what the copter was about. This reminded me of the time a few years ago when Ben was out of town and I was watching Forensic Files. Someone, who I later determined was the police, knocked on our door around midnight. Of course I didn’t answer because I’m not a victim waiting to happen, seriously, and what good ever comes from a knock on your door at midnight. I later found out that there had been a stabbing two houses over. Crime! Right in my back yard!
Hopped up on Criminal Minds and the police scanner, my eyes grew wide and I started to hear weird noises. It’s the worst, sometimes, being the only adult in the house when you’re on a paranoid tear. Eventually, though, you relax, realizing that if there were weird noises, the dogs would notice them. Probably. The min pin would, at least, because she never misses the opportunity to bark her head off at shit.
Bedtime marked the transition from Criminal Minds and the First 48 to Disappeared. Why wasn’t Ben home yet? Did something bad happen or did he choose to leave? Did you know that adults are free to go missing on their own and there’s nothing you can do about it? It’s true. The crew would come to the house and film me saying things like, “I don’t think he’d leave us, you know?” while gazing at the camera imagining I’m somewhere else. The words “devoted father” would be said during the broadcast.
Once there’s a day where the snowball of crazy starts in my brain, without proper redirection, it just keeps going. It’s like when I used to get extensively bored for long periods of time and I’d become convinced that I had some kind of terrible disease. The brain tumor and Parkinson’s periods were bad. (In my defense, I’ve had a twitchy pinky for the past 9+ years [palmaris brevis spasm syndrome] and I read something about how Michael J. Fox started with a twitchy pinky. I spent a lot of time on a benign fasciculation syndrome message board one year.) Fortunately, pregnancy and having a child have given me plenty of things to think about so I no longer have the mental energy to do more than freak out about cancer every once in a while.
What I’ve learned from this experience is fourfold:
- It’s not worth it to get angry about shit that happens in traffic.
- Chill out on the crime shows.
- Recognize, which I sometimes do, that anxiety often has no real purpose. Even if I do end up being killed by some dude I pissed off while driving, freaking out about it beforehand won’t make it any better.
- I should use the energy of anxiety to do something constructive, like run, pick up a hobby, read, write something of actual substance, or bake cookies. Mmmm cookies.