Saturday, March 28, 2009

Apocalypse. And Appetizers (Though Not Necessarily In That Order)

The contest will keep running until the end of March. It will take me a day or so to get around to compiling everyone's multiple entries and to announce a winner. Check back at the end of the week to find out which one of you is the lucky lurker--or looker, since you are not all lurkers. Oh, wait, I don't believe in luck, so I'm not sure what compelling force in the universe will determine a winner, but whatever. Thanks for helping me to realize my 30-comment goal. I promise to write mundane posts for the next several weeks, with no tantalizing offers of free stuff so that you don't feel so obligated to respond.

I think my recurring dream referenced in the last post was accurately characterized by several of you. At its heart, my unfinished school-credits dream is more about worry than anything. Anxiety is, unfortunately, a fairly defining characteristic of my personality. My other frequent dream is also set in school. This time, however, I am the teacher and am always terribly unprepared. I also have the dream where I am cast in a play and don't know any of my lines, or even what the show is about. Themes of worry and preparation (or lack thereof) seem to be deep in my subconscious. I often find myself looking for my clothes in my dreams too--I think this one is more about fear of exposure; that I'm afraid my private self and my public self aren't consistent and I'll be found out.

Going with themes of preparation and worry, however, in the last few weeks I've had two VERY vivid dreams that have given me some serious reflection.

A quick aside here: I remember a lot of my dreams because my sleeping habits are so strange--a natural consequence of the newspaper job. Because my stretches of sleep range anywhere from 2-5 hours, I often wake up during R.E.M. sleep and therefore have more vivid memories of what I was dreaming.

Okay, back to my dreams that don't involve school, teaching or embarrassing exposure. In the first, I went to our local grocery store. It is called Winco and I love it more than any grocery store I've ever shopped at. The selection is great, the bulk section is enough to make serious-minded food storage types salivate, and the prices are extremely low. I even like bagging my own groceries--I get them all organized before I even get them home. Winco is a lot like an older HEB for all y'all in Texas, and like Macey's for the Utahns in our midst. Anyway, in my dream, I pulled into Winco's parking lot, only to find a line out the door.

I didn't question the line, but just got in it and waited my turn to get into the store. When I walked in, I gasped in horror. The store was nearly empty, particularly of produce. It is a bit how I imagine Russian grocery stores in 1970's, years of Communism having taken their toll on availability. There were armed guards checking ration cards before you were allowed to shop. I didn't dream long enough to find out what would have happened when they saw that I didn't actually have a card.

My second Armageddon-style dream took place at church. Wait, I didn't fall asleep during church, I dreamed that I was AT church. But it wasn't my local ward, it was Leura chapel in the Blue Mountains of Australia. I know it was the chapel because it is the most unique LDS building I've ever been inside. It was also the ward with the most nutters, which probably explains why this particular dream occurred there.

I had left my two little ones home, asleep, while I ran Plantboy and Jedi Knight to the church. I walked in with them for "just a minute." (In my dreams I'm the most rotten mother, often losing at least one of the three along the way.) I was surprised to see a large family of people there who hadn't attended for some time. The patriarch of this clan was sitting on the stand; he was obviously speaking that day. As I looked around, I noticed an uncanny resemblance among many of those in the congregation, and for some reason felt serious unease about so many of this particular family being in attendance.

The man stood to speak: he began talking about the evils of the U.N. and the US government. Then he began waxing poetic about the weapons stockpiled in his basement. Feeling intensely uncomfortable, I told Plantboy that I was taking Jedi and going home to the kids. Plantboy looked around and said he thought it was important that the priesthood brothers stayed, but that he thought I should definitely leave. Just as Jedi and I were leaving the chapel, the Bishop turned off Brother Crazy's microphone. Then he began shouting.

As I got out to the hallway, I realized that MORE members of Clan Crazy were in the hallway and, duh, they were all armed! In fact, they looked pretty militant--a cross between jihad fighters and white supremacists. Jedi and I were taken hostage (terrifying) and then on a wild goose chase through the catacombs of the church. Even the Leura building didn't have catacombs, but who can explain everything in a dream?

The rest of my dream we were in captivity; Jedi was afraid, but trying to act brave. The whole time I was torn between anxiety for Plantboy, fear for my babies home alone, and dread for the unknown. Terror indeed.

And then I woke up.

Those five words have seldom sounded as good to me as when I woke up from this latest dream just three days ago. Now, lest you decide to wax Freudian in the comments and explain that my subconscious is trying to tell me that our country is on the verge of imploding because Obama-is-actually-a-terrorist, save your breath. I have my own ides about what such dreaming means, and it might just be that I'm reading way too much news. (Brother Crazy and his multitude of offspring all looked like that horrible old man in Austria who was convicted of incest after keeping his daughter locked in the basement for most of her life.) My dreams probably mean that food storage has occupied my thoughts often as of late. Or maybe my imagination is too vivid for my own good.

Still, the sun looks like it will actually come out today, church was fantastic yesterday, and I bought all the groceries I wanted at the store Saturday morning, so it is hard to take myself or my stupid subconscious too seriously.

To end on a happier note, I'll give you two delicious recipes from the weekend--one experimental, the other perfected.

Southwest Eggrolls

This is my experiment. It came about because Plantboy and I got a babysitter for a couple of hours on Saturday so that he and I could go cruise the mall. This was a fun change; I've only been to the mall two or three times since we've lived here. It was raining when we got out of the mall, and as I actually combed my hair on Saturday, I told Plantboy he had to go get the car. Sweet man. While I was standing there, I smelled the yummiest and greasiest aroma coming from Chili's. I immediately thought of their spicy, fried southwest eggrolls. Then it was impossible for me to think of anything else. I made them for a pre-dinner snack as soon as we got home. The result was quite delicious. My recipe has no amounts. I was experimenting so my quantity was small--a half a dozen egg rolls--but you could make as few or as many as you wanted.

* black beans
* frozen white corn
* fresh jalepeno
* diced red pepper
* green onion
* shredded cheddar (optional; this might have made them slightly greasier and I'd probably use a combo of cheddar and Monterrey jack next time)
* lime juice
* cilantro
* egg roll wrappers (you can buy these near the herbs or pre-bagged salad at most grocery stores)

I tossed all of the ingredients together and then rolled them in egg roll wrappers. I dropped them in hot oil and they cooked really fast: about 45 seconds on each side. The faster you cook them, the less oil they will absorb. Drain them on paper towels, but eat them while they are still hot. Either dip them in pico de gallo or to make them milder, dip them in this stuff after you have stirred the ingredients really well. If it is took thick, add a little bit of milk:

* blue cheese dressing (or ranch if you are boring)
* lime juice
* a lot of cilantro

This treat was so good that I wish I'd doubled the batch and skipped dinner. Pretty fattening though. If you wanted to make them a meal, and more healthy, add some diced cooked chicken to your filling, put them in uncooked tortillas (Costco has these), brush them with olive oil and bake them until crispy. Voila! Southwest Chicken Chimichangas.

The second recipe is a favorite I make very occassionally--calories, calories--but I think I've finally perfected it. Skin and roughly chop four large baking potatoes (or any white potato) and then boil for about ten minutes. Add two medium-sized skinned, chopped yams to the water and cook them all until they are mashable. Separate the orange potatoes and the white into separate bowls.

To the white potatoes, add half a block of cream cheese, a quarter cup of milk, chopped chives (to taste), a Tbsp of butter and 1/2 cup of Parmesan (I used the shaky kind). Mash. To the yams, add 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 Tbsp butter. Mash them, but leave them chunky. (Mashed sweet potatoes too often resemble baby food!) In an 8 x 8 pan layer white potatoes first, then yams, and finish with white potatoes. Sprinkle with cheddar. Bake until the cheese melts.

Ow, wow, are they good. But yes, calories calories.

Strictly speaking, a potato bake is NOT an appetizer, but still very, very yummy and I find that my recipe posts are not super interesting on their own so the potatoes got thrown into this post. (Yes, yes, what a mess!) If Slick is right and my dreams have something to do with what I'm eating, then it will be interesting to see what several days of eating leftovers turned into eggrolls does to me.


Sherry said...

I have not tried those egg rolls, but! (This is where you lift your eyebrows and say, "But what?"). I have a cookbook full of recipes for different restaurants. Taste-alikes, if you will. I've only used a few of them, and that book has the recipe for said egg rolls. Email me ( if you want the recipe. (Plus then I'd have your email address and I'd be able to respond to all the insightful comments you make on my blog).

Also, today at my job there was a discussion (read: rant) about politics, which I did not join, and then they asked me if I was a Republican. I told them that I was not. Then I was told that I couldn't be a good Mormon and a Democrat. And she was serious. I managed to contain my eye-rolling and keep my mouth closed.

chris w said...

Once again, it's kinda scary how exactly the same many of yours and my dreams are... hmmm. (I didn't have the crazy church speaker dream though.

In response to your comment on my blog: My FAVORITE skit ever on SNL was with Lindsay Lohan (in spite of her). It was a group of friends in Disneyland and Debbie Downer kept interjecting negative repsonses as they talked about how happy they were at Disneyland. SO FUNNY!!

To Sherry: I have had many democrat mormon friends call me a mindless sheep for my conservative beliefs. I think we all need to be sweeter to each other!! (I'm not defending rude conservatives btw.) I think that is one major area where we really forget to be Christ-like to each other.

Michelle said...

Your dream was actually a reality for me last week. Some guy made his usual 5-7 minute comment about how the communists have infiltrated the Guatemalan government and that is why there are so many shootings and guns and drugs and Russia, yeah, they are bad too and...wait, isn't that my 2 year-old crying in the nursery? all the way on the other side of the building? I didn't stay for the rest. i didn't know whether to roll my eyes or start laughing.

Jenny said...

Whew! That dream is too intense. And those eggrolls? YUM. I'll be experimenting in my very own kitchen soon. Thanks!