We had a potluck at work today, which pretty much means I over-ate. After that one plate, I found myself wishing for the champagne from the capitol of Panem..you know, the kind that makes you less full?

The shamrock shake didn’t help 😛

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After work, I spent a few hours shopping so that I could walk off some of the guilt. It helps that I found cute clothes and earrings on sale 😉

I got the grocery shopping done, too. I used some of the goodies to make pesto shrimp pasta.

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While I was browsing, I made a conscious effort to actually meet people’s gazes. In doing so, I was able to visit with some of the people working and shopping there. I can’t tell if I’m just lonely, or if I just like people that much, but when it was time to leave, I felt almost misty.

I texted my encounters to Jeff so that I could remember them:

Tonight, I met Oleg from Belarus, who works two jobs (target and home depot). Since his accent reminded me of my brother-in-law, it made me think of my sister and I missed her and her family so much. 

I also met Bob, who retired five years ago and came back to work because he missed people. He worked for the airline and loves the Caribbean islands. His wife is from Hawaii but his favorite place to visit is Nova Scotia. 

I also met a 41 year old mother of three, Joe, Claudia, and Clara. Clara is just a baby, but Claudia is 8 and Joe is 13.  Joe has high functioning autism, but Clara lights up his life. She gave up caffeine for lent and keeps calling Claudia “Clara.”

I’m really glad I got the opportunity to talk with these folks. I come from a “heads down” generation, so I guess it’s nice to know we can still connect.  I told Bob that I would look for him next time. I introduced the mom to cinnamon in her chai latte. Oleg told me I could come listen to him talk whenever I was missing my family.

I think I’ll keep talking to strangers. I really enjoyed the ones I met tonight.

Talking to strangers

Posted in Food, Life + Living, Menu Planning, Recipe

Menu Monday – no wait..

Guess what happens when you spend your whole weekend celebrating birthdays:

You fail to make a menu for Monday.  Or go grocery shopping.  Or you know, any of the usual weekend activities.

I had a great weekend hanging out with Jeff, putzing with puzzles, going to a wedding fair, throwing a birthday bash for my niece… We even cleaned house and managed to do some laundry!  We utterly failed, though, to ponder this week’s eats or to make a menu.  Tonight’s dinner was a sad affair… I called Jeff on my way home and he listed off things that we had in the fridge: mixed fruits, left over veggie tray, bell peppers, cucumbers, sweet corn…  And in the freezer: mixed veg, shrimp, chocolate chips, froyo.

Hm.

We didn’t even have a bagged meal to fall back on and we didn’t want to get fast food, so we  just assembled the basics – a ‘meat’, a side, and a veggie:

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Yep.  Tonight’s dinner was a handful of shrimp and two ears of corn.  I figure one served as a side and the other as a veggie =P

The shrimp was actually really good.  If you’re ever in a pinch and you’ve got pre-cooked frozen shrimp, it’s really easy to make it tasty:

Quick Shrimp:

  • pre-cooked, frozen shrimp
  • butter
  • minced garlic
  • lime juice

1) Thaw shrimp per package instructions–best to run it under cold water. Pull off the tails while you’re at it.

2) Put 1 Tbls of butter and 1 (heaping) Tbls of minced garlic (ours was the jarred variety tonight) into a frying pan

3) Add the thawed shrimp and cook just a couple minutes until heated through–they will start to curl smaller, but you don’t want to *over* cook shrimp, then it just gets rubbery.

Serve with some of the garlic butter if desired, sprinkle some lime juice over the top.  BBQ Sauce is optional, but if you go for it–Sweet Baby Ray’s is awesome.

The corn was just corn, but my grandma taught me the trick to getting a good ear of sweetcorn–take your fingernail and press it against a kernel until it bursts.  If it pops like over-inflated bubble wrap and squirts juice at you, you’re good!  If it just deflates, try another ear.

Posted in Food, New Food, Recipe

Bacon + Shrimp + Pineapple = Awesome

For dinner this week, Jeff and I are just using up what we have in our freezer.  We happened to have a bag of pre-cooked, washed, de-veined shrimp available that we thought would suit our needs.  The cool thing is that we only had to thaw them out (and rinse them) in order for them to be ready to eat.

I am not much of a sea-food fan, but shrimp has long been the exception.  Still, I wanted to make sure that this would be a meal and not just a tasty snack, so.. what makes everything better? BACON!

We would take half-pieces of bacon and wrap them around the shrimp, dip it in cocktail sauce and revel in the salty-shrimpy goodness.  The pineapple was frozen at the peak of freshness and thawed out for just such an occasion.  I was skeptical of whether or not the fresh-frozen-thawed pineapple would be any good, but it actually maintained it’s textural integrity after thawing in the refrigerator overnight.  It tasted so sweet and was the perfect counter-note to the bacon + Shrimp.  This meal came together in only as long as it took to cook up the bacon 🙂