92 thoughts on “Friday Food Fun

  1. Softshell crabs were also in abundant supply this past summer. I bought some at what seemed to be a good price (essentially the same price as over-the-counter from Wegmans, but for much larger crabs), shipped frozen from Linton’s in MD, made some and have been looking for an opportunity to have the rest. I am the only one who eats them currently in the house.

  2. Well, the pandemic let me discovery restaurants that I could never get a reservation for. I’m sure the food is way better if you eat there, but I’ve had some pretty good take out meals. Plus, the alcohol is cheaper at my house.

    On the Australian topic, lately I’ve been watching Outback Truckers, Opal Hunters, and Cricky, it’s the Irwin’s. I’m apparently on an Australian kick.

  3. I still don’t like brussel sprouts. But beet pancakes are really good. :/

    And my kids are picky eaters. They will probably starve in adulthood. It’s a miracle they survive now. Both hate everything. That is what I learned this year. Sigh.

  4. Rhode, they’ll get better. DS has always been a very picky eater, but he’s branched out finally. He always refused to eat onions and then discovered he actually really likes them, so he’s always adding onions to everything. They’ll get there.

  5. @Fred – I love soft-shell crabs! I would eat them with you.

    @Rhode – I agree with DD. DS ate everything as a baby, then got a bit picky. He’s still kinda picky, but I think some of it is just tween complaining. He would eat nothing but jarred pasta sauce over penne and cereal and fruit if he was feeding himself. The good news is now he is so ravenous all the time, he will pretty much eat anything you put in front of him as long as it is not too spicy (mild spice is okay) and doesn’t have visible olives or something like that.

  6. I have been baking one item a week since I have more time overall. I pick easy recipes. I like to look at recipes from the UK because they have baked items that can be eaten as a tea time snack. I also get the opportunity to share what I bake with my parents. I made Nadiya’s soda bread last week, this week I will try peanut blossoms with chocolate kisses in the center, from NY Times cooking.
    I have been looking at Chinese New Year recipes and went down a rabbit hole looking at those.

  7. “And my kids are picky eaters. They will probably starve in adulthood. It’s a miracle they survive now. Both hate everything. That is what I learned this year. Sigh.”

    I’m a miracle of modern chemistry. I had about 10 foods that I would eat right up until adolescence. (It didn’t help that my mother was a terrible cook.)

    By college I was eating all kinds of foods and different cuisines. And I’m healthy in my old age. So don’t worry.

  8. After trying out several types of crabs we have settled on Dungeness crabs. Frozen crabs are available at my grocery store.

  9. Rhode: you know my DS, a/k/a the kid whose four food groups were noodles (no sauces!), dairy, sugar, and beige. It was a huge victory when he transitioned from always getting mac and cheese or chicken nuggets to sometimes getting a cheeseburger (even if he did want the garnish nowhere near his plate!). His current favorite food is now a green chile cheeseburger, and he will now try anything that looks interesting — I made momofuku’s rice cakes with spicu ragu, which is extremely spicy and looks like a giant bowl of mush, and he ate it! Wasn’t a huge fan — too many textures, he said — but he actually ate it anyway!

    I am on a kick now — between Baldor and Goldbelly, we are trying all sorts of new stuff. I am going all-out for Chinese New Year tonight — second shot at scallion pancakes, finishing off some dumplings that were absolutely delicious, sesame balls, and another thing with the glutinous rice flour with sweet sesame paste inside. We’ll see! Could be a huge flop. But DH has been *very* happy with all the new variety of homemade treats lately, so he’ll appreciate the effort even if it’s not awesome. I am actually wanting my work today to be OVER so I can get started, since I totally do not know what I’m doing!

  10. Since I can’t tell if this is political, then it probably is, so I’m going to post an article titled

    “The misguided exam school debate
    Selective public high schools have few Black and Hispanic students — there’s also no evidence these schools are any good”

    over on the politics page, if you’re interested.

  11. I was on the side of the county today for a dermatologist appointment and my route includes a drive past Wegmans. I picked up some favorites that we already discovered since they opened last year. DD loves their Sourdough bread. I was in the bakery section to find the bread and Wegmans was going nuts for Valentine’s Day in this area. So many treats for VD, and lot of roses and fresh chocolate right near the bakery too.

    I was more interested in the display for the Lunar New Year because they had many Asian specialty items in one place. I didn’t buy much because it is much cheaper to buy my real groceries at Shop Rite, but it is so easy to shop in this store. Super clean and everyone that works there is nice. This is not my experience (even before covid) at some of our other supermarkets so it is a pleasure to shop there even though it is a little overwhelming too.

    DD is very picky and still eats from the kids menu. She finally started to eat some of the foods that she ate when she was a toddler. She used to eat everything until she started going to elementary school, birthday parties etc. She finally started to eat some new foods during the last year. She now eats a hamburger (big win!!), baked beans, grilled chicken and a bunch of other foods that most people eat everyday.

    She is on vacation next week and DH has a couple of days off too. We are not’ going away so I am going to use this an excuse to take out from some restaurants that are further away. Just to make the week a little more fun and because i am bored with the same restaurants.

  12. There’s a sandwich place in the downtown of our town that DS occasionally goes to with his friends. DS discovered paninis at this place, and would constantly rave about how great they were. So this past Christmas, I got him a panini press so that he could make grilled sandwiches at home. It has been a huge hit not just with DS, but also with DH and DD. DD, who is my picky-eater child, never used to eat either sandwiches or tomatoes, but practically every day now she makes herself a cheese and tomato panini.

  13. As much as I loved the Gold belly cake, DD did not like it at all. She said it had some weird taste. It’s the bourbon, that’s precisely why I like it !

  14. As I have previously relayed, my challenge is finding more ways to make chicken and replace pasta. We have had a few no-goes with chicken pot pie – SO doesn’t want a heavy crust so we tried top only, wrapped in puff pastry, etc. It must be spaced out, but the next try will be only puff pastry on top. The chicken stroganoff was a success – DD #1 and I had pasta, SO had it over noodles. I am at the point that when we eat out, I will NOT order chicken. I feel like I am about to sprout wings and cluck. Though this week we are able to have ground pork in a meal and link sausage in another.

    I am trying a really easy bread recipe this weekend. DD#2 tried a couple, but only one came out well, but I was the only one who liked it. I think she needed to be using bread flour, which I put on this week’s shopping list.

    SO says both DD’s are picky, but I disagree – would always eat pork, beef and chicken; pasta, rice and noodles; and at least green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, green peas, and carrots. As they have grown up, there are things they will eat vs. things they like. DD#2 likes a broader range of things, but both will try new things without too much coercion.

  15. Chicken and noodles probably isn’t a helpful suggestion because of the noodles. Chicken and dumplings is another of my DH’s favorite comfort foods. My version is pretty quick with bisquick dumplings. I also like to make chicken quesadillas and chicken taquitos. Our version of chicken quesadillas is kind of like make your own pizza night, everyone assembles their own to their personal preferences.

    I also make chicken salad for lunches, and this week I’m eating off my first egg roll in a bowl recipe (you make the filling and skip the wrapper and the frying). Both of these lunch ideas are inspired by by recommitment to weight watchers.

  16. My totally-not-gourmet answers to the original question.

    Slow-cooker recipes are SO much better when you can start them in the middle of the day rather than leaving food cooking in them for 8-10 hours (even if you have it switch to “keep warm”.

    I have never been able to make rice well on the stovetop. I like to cook, and I am a decent cook, but this was just something I could never quite get right. In the Before Times, I would buy the frozen pre cooked rice, but that was hard to come by for awhile. So I bought a rice cooker – just a cheap one from Target – and it is the best thing ever! And the rice is really, really good with no effort. And CHEAP. Even the good imported rice is way less than $1/pound.

    Kirkland Gin and Kirkland Bourbon are excellent.

    I thought about going to H Mart to get some Lunar New Year treats, but then I thought it would probably be insane today. So I skipped it. But I might still change my mind – they do have a great bakery. We are nodding to the holiday by having Korean short rib lettuce wraps for dinner. And I bought some frozen egg rolls.

  17. “I still don’t like brussel sprouts.”

    I didn’t either, until we tried them as prepared by a friend. She halved them, thenI think she sprinkled them with garlic salt and pepper, drizzled olive oil on them, the oven roasted them.

    Since then, DW has prepared them that way from time to time and they disappear quickly. She sometimes wraps them in bacon, and those disappear even more quickly.

  18. Yesterday DD1 had the day off and used her “I’m bored” time to make homemade soft pretzel rolls. I had no idea she was making them, so imagine my surprise when I came out of my office to see them cooling. They were amazing and it was her first go around.

    Both my kids order off the adult menu now, and one loves lobster and high end fish and the other loves steak. They are really expensive to take to restaurants.

  19. For Superbowl Sunday DH and I did a wing challenge. We pit our basic model air fryer against the new oven on the convection bake setting to see if the oven could make wings as good as the air fryer. We have made chicken wings in the air fryer several times and they’re honestly better than any deep fried wings we’ve gotten at restaurants – and we’ve tried many restaurant wings.

    The air fryer still won.

  20. Off topic question: DH has work in Hilton Head, SC the week of 2/22. DD (HS Jr) and I will drive down with him to visit some schools that she is interested in. Any advice on where to stay, must-see things, or restaurants near:

    College Park, MD
    Richmond, VA
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Raleigh, NC
    Athens, GA
    Knoxville, TN
    Clemson, SC

    We’re obviously fitting a lot in so we don’t have a ton of time for fun or sight-seeing, but I’d love to do something memorable while we’re on the road. If you all insist that we simply can’t leave an area without doing or seeing something special, I’ll take your advice.

    Our general plan is to see some schools on the way down, spend a day with him in Hilton Head, then the two of us will travel to Athens and Knoxville, then reconnect with him near Clemson for the ride back home.

  21. “my challenge is finding more ways to make chicken”

    My favorite is shoyu chicken. Very tasty (at least IMO) and easy to make. There are a ton of recipes online. It’s basically boiling chicken in dilute shoyu/sugar, and you can adjust to your taste by playing with the shoyu/sugar/water ratios, and adding seasonings. I like to use thighs (bone-in thighs are often really cheap, and when cooked this way the meat just falls off the bone). For seasonings, I like to use garlic, ginger, green onions, and some sake or cooking wine. I’ve thought of trying beer, but haven’t yet.

    Locally, other popular chicken dishes for plate lunches include chicken katsu, garlic chicken, mochiko chicken, Korean fried chicken, and teriyaki chicken. Panda Express and Chinese restaurants also offer a lot of choices of chicken dishes.

    My family really likes Aidells chicken sausage and chicken meatballs that we buy from Costco.

    “I also make chicken salad for lunches”’

    I love chicken salad sandwiches. I used canned chicken from Costco or Sam’s, make the salad with mayo and pepper, and spread on toast with tomato slices and lettuce. Now I’m thinking of making some for lunch today.

  22. “Any food discoveries during the pandemic ?”

    Tying this to Austin’s challenge, during the pandemic I was finally able to try the Popeye’s chicken sandwich. Before the pandemic, every time I drove by, there was a line of cars coming out of the parking lot.

    I thought it lived up to the hype, although they’re more expensive here that what their ads say.

  23. Swim, are you only visiting public schools? Looking at your list, I think there’s a prominent public school at each of those locations.

    Has your DD already narrowed her search down to large public schools?

  24. Finn – Some good suggestions. SO has been a chicken sandwich eater too, I’ll suggest Popeye’s.
    We have had some chicken successes recently – green chicken enchiladas and chicken stuffed with herbs/cheese and wrapped in bacon are the two most recent.

  25. Swim,

    When we visited College Park, we stayed across the street from campus at The Hotel at UMD on LfB’s recommendation. It was a great location for our oncampus activities. And we drove in both directions on Baltimore Ave to try different restaurants.

  26. Austin, I’m curious, why chicken specifically? E.g., could turkey be an appropriate substitute for chicken?

    We use ground turkey a lot, substituting that for ground beef in all sorts of things ranging from burgers to chili to curry.

    Among other things, I find cleanup much easier after cooking with ground turkey rather than ground beef because it’s so lean.

  27. Finn – she is interested in large schools. Rather than listing the school, I figured I’d list the location since not everyone here knows every large school and the associated city (well, perhaps they do!) She thinks she wants the big school experience, so that’s where we’ll focus our efforts now.

    We have a student contact at Tennessee (nephew of one of my running friends) who will give her an unofficial tour. He lives off campus so she can get an idea of what off campus housing might look like if she goes that route, and also hear first hand experiences from a CT native. He has also offered to connect her with students he knows at some of the other schools if she wants, so that she can get closer to the ‘normal’ college visit experience. I haven’t met this kid yet but I’m already thankful to him for the assistance!

    USC and Tenn offer in-person tours, most offer self-guided, and Clemson is virtual only. We’ll still go to Clemson and at least drive around the area.

  28. Swim USC as in Gamecocks, not Trojans? If the latter, I can share info. But I don’t see either USC location on your list.

    If her interest is in large publics, you’re probably even more curious than I to see a trip report from UA(RT).

  29. Popeye’s Chicken Sandwiches–YUM. DS1 introduced me to them, when he came home for the pandemic.

  30. I can confirm that the Popeye’s Chicken Sandwiches are really good.

    I had to run a couple of errands mid-day, so I picked up a couple on the way home. Yes, they are good.

  31. She sometimes wraps them in bacon, and those disappear even more quickly.

    Is there anything that isn’t significantly improved by wrapping it in bacon?

  32. “Is there anything that isn’t significantly improved by wrapping it in bacon?”

    Tomatoes. Nothing can improve tomatoes.

  33. But Cass, a good BLT is sublime, even better without the lettuce.

    Finn, yes, the Gamecocks. I meant to type Clemson & USC since they are so close to each other rather than Clemson, SC. I should have been consistent in my list and simply written Colombia, SC. We are not looking at schools on the west coast, at least not yet.

  34. Tomatoes. Nothing can improve tomatoes.

    You can’t honestly believe that a plain tomato is better than a tomato wrapped in bacon.

  35. Finn, yes, the Gamecocks. I meant to type Clemson & USC since they are so close to each other rather than Clemson, SC. I should have been consistent in my list and simply written Colombia, SC. We are not looking at schools on the west coast, at least not yet.

    Not to mention that the USC in California would be a bit out of the way on this trip.

  36. Swim, maybe you can tour USC, then head to Knoxville, then wander back to UGA and Clemson before meeting up with your DH. If you visit UGA in Athens, Clemson is about 1.5 hours up I-85. Its too bad they aren’t giving tours, but if you do the virtual tour before your trip, you can park and walk around campus and get a feel for the place. Talk to students you see hanging out; Clemson students are notoriously friendly and love Clemson. It is a small town, so I suggest you plan to meet your DH here in Greenville, 45 minutes to the north, to stay the night. Hwy 123 takes you straight from Clemson to downtown Greenville, where there are lots of nice hotels and restaurants. Choose a hotel near the Reedy River, where you can walk to Falls Park and take a walk or run on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. I was there a couple of days ago, and the daffodils are blooming, so it will be a spring tonic for you. The Lazy Goat is a favorite restaurant of ours, and I’m sure they do takeout if you are skeeved by the fact that SC has no real restrictions on restaurant capacity. I haven’t been in a restaurant in a year.

    I am not familiar with UGA, but people love Athens. USC is downtown and spread out, and Clemson is more contained and leafy. Your daughter will I’m sure prefer one kind of life over the other. If she develops an interest in either, we can touch base about more specifics. I highly recommend the honors colleges at both schools. Not sure how they are handling admissions now – it used to be a certain SAT score unlocked the application but that may have changed given the challenges and trends in testing.

    Then as your tour guide I would send you to Chapel Hill (haven’t lived there in years so I can’t recommend anything, but maybe Lark has been there recently) and then up to Maryland on your way home.

    I’m hoping for sunny and 60 weather for you while you are in SC.

  37. Since we’ve veered into a college topic (what a surprise!), may I ask a college-related question? DS says that he was talking with his assigned guidance counselor a couple of weeks ago, and she said that based on what he has expressed as his interests, she thinks that supply chain management might be a career path for him to consider. DS seemed interested. I think some of you work in this field; could you give me your thoughts on good majors for a kid who might be interested in that line of work? I know that some schools offer degrees in supply chain management, but I imagine there are other degrees that might be offered in a greater number of schools that might be useful as well? I know absolutely nothing about this area, so any advice would be appreciated!

  38. Thanks, Louise. One reason I am wondering about other majors is that I think DS will probably want to stay at least sort-of close to home for college, and a lot of the schools on that US News list are in other parts of the country. (Yes, MIT is in Massachusetts, but there is a 0% possibility that DS could get into MIT.)

  39. The schools I’m familiar with all have supply chain in the business school these days. Industrial engineering would be a cousin as well.

    In other news, DH got his first shot!! He qualifies in Missouri’s current tier, and we were able to snag an appointment at Walmart. I also learned that the Walmart distribution comes from the federal stockpile, so I also avoided most residual guilt about crossing the state line.

  40. That’s really exciting Sunshine!

    @NoB – When I was at the food company, we heavily recruited at Michigan State for supply chain entry level recruits. I didn’t realize it was Top 20 for that program – we recruited pretty widely although there were a few Kellogg grads in marketing.

    It does look like UMass Boston has a program in the Business school. I would think a lot of places would have something suitable in their Business department (which from what you’ve said sounds like it might be a good fit for your DS). Nothing wrong with the Business school/department! (Although at my school it was called Economics and Management.)
    https://business.umb.edu/undergraduate-programs/management-major/supply-chain-and-service-management

    (I know nothing about UMB – just picked it in the thought it might be similar to our local branch of the flagship)

  41. I know so many people with a degree in supply chain (#1, and was #1 when I was there). Only a few I know work in Michigan, so it is a degree that is heavily recruited across the country and internationally. I have a friend that manages barge traffic (hurricanes in the Gulf, and major river flooding add excitement). Many work in procurement and negotiate purchasing orders from raw materials to finish product. A good friend of mine used to travel regularly to China to negotiate with companies that would make a part of a larger product. Lots go into that, not just can they make the part for the best price, but can they make enough within a certain timeline, are they using harmful chemicals, etc.? And then the logistics team works out the details to get said product to the US, then the warehousing experts have their part.

    In hindsight I should have switched into this major instead of just going to their events for free pizza and their Saturday night parties in for free beer.

  42. I know two people in supply chain management, one at 3M and one at HP. The one at 3M has a BA in sociology from UMinn, and then an MA in Organizational Leadership from St. Catherine’s. The one at HP has an undergrad business degree from Auburn.

    Now it is very worth noting that one is in her early 60s and one is about to turn 60. The world was different 40 years ago and you could major in something weird and still get an entry-level job and then move into a new area when you got interested in it. The HP one spent some early years in the military, too.

  43. “You can’t honestly believe that a plain tomato is better than a tomato wrapped in bacon.”

    Especially cherry tomatoes. I can just imagine grilling some, wrapped in bacon, on a skewer, along with some chunks of sweet yellow onions, bell peppers…

  44. ““You can’t honestly believe that a plain tomato is better than a tomato wrapped in bacon.”

    Especially cherry tomatoes. I can just imagine grilling some, wrapped in bacon, on a skewer, along with some chunks of sweet yellow onions, bell peppers…”

    A plain tomato is just vile unto itself. The tomato wrapped in bacon also ruins the bacon.

    It saddens me that so many have failed to perceive the darkness amongst us in the unclean tomato.

  45. NoB I work in a Supply Chain support organization and agree with others that there seem to be a lot of undergrad degrees in supply chain/procurement offered now. With your DS’s background it would be a lot more intuitive to him than a lot of his peers. It would seem like a great fit. If he wants to stay with his current employer, it would be a great way to move up to an interesting corporate role.

  46. We’re headed to Bozeman next week to check out the college and the weather. DS wants to try regional foods. Anyone have suggestions for restaurants?

  47. Cass, we always like pizza from Bridger Brewing (T-rex, bison pepperoni, and the fig pizza are favorites), and Feed Cafe. They’ve been getting hit with snow and sub-zero temps, so hopefully it warms up by the time you go. Enjoy! It is our family’s favorite place

  48. Cass, when we were there, we liked the Montana Ale Works, and the Nova Cafe had a great breakfast.

  49. The supply chain management degree discussion is interesting and not a major that I had considered before now. As others have mentioned, it could be that getting too specific on a degree may not be the best path.

    I started to buy rockit apples, which are small and snack-sized. This is perfect for me since I typically cut an apple in half when I want to have one. These might also work well for young kids. The flavor is good IMO, similar to that of a gala apple.

  50. @Kim – I’ve never seen those. It’s a great idea. I love in the fall when I can get tons of smaller sized apples in all kinds of varieties at the farmers market. In winter I usually just dig around at the grocery store for the smaller ones.

  51. Thanks for the input, everyone — much appreciated. I think one of DS’ big decision points is going to be whether he wants to pursue a “business-y” course of study, or a “liberal arts-y” course of study. Based on his skill set, I am hoping he goes the “business-y” route, but I would support either choice.

    Rhett — I have long thought that the military would be a great fit for my DS, but so far he hasn’t expressed any interest.

  52. Does anyone have plans for today? We just had a nice breakfast, but other than that, have nothing special planned.

  53. “Does anyone have plans for today?”

    We usually don’t do anything, but after almost a year stuck at home, I take any reason to celebrate a little. We had heart shaped donuts for breakfast, I bought some Valentine’s Day candy, and we’ll have steaks for dinner – using the ATK cold pan/flipping method as not to make too much smoke since it is below zero here today. We’ll see if that works – I’ve never tried it before.

    Tomorrow I signed us up for a Presidential trivia Zoom with The Washington Post, so that will be fun too. And of course on Tuesday – packzis are a must. So many holidays back-to-back!

  54. DD and I are waiting for our flight to Portland. It’s 20 minutes delayed but we’re lucky because two other flights to PDX are cancelled. It’s frigid here (below 0) so I’m happy to be leaving town even if we are heading into the Oregon rain.

  55. @ Swim – I would definitely recommend staying right in the heart of Chapel Hill to get a feel for it. Either the Carolina Inn or a hotel on Franklin Street. One of the appeals of CH is how walkable it is. A big school with a small school feel.

  56. We typically don’t do anything for Valentine’s Day, and usually are skiing. Too cold this year (all the local hills are closed due to wind chill warnings). Instead I cleaned out the handbags and shoeboxes in my closet and found three unused Target giftcards and two Barnes and Nobles giftcards, along with seven dollars. Then I went to the library.

  57. We typically don’t do anything for Valentine’s Day, and usually are skiing. Too cold this year (all the local hills are closed due to wind chill warnings). Instead I cleaned out the handbags and shoeboxes in my closet and found three unused Target giftcards and two Barnes and Nobles giftcards, along with seven dollars. Then I went to the library.

  58. My exciting Valentine’s day is bieng spent working. I worked all day yesterday too. I am teaching this class in which half the students know Java and half know Python. I have to get them set up to write programs that can talk to a database. I am pretty familiar with this from Java but not Python, and even with Java, there have been some changes since the last time I did this. So I spent all day yesterday trying to figure out how to get Python to talk to the database on both Mac and Unix,under all three of the platforms they are likely to use, and then had to write up detailed instructions for every possibility. It took most of yesterday. This morning I spent creating recordings (this is an async class), and a homework assignment. Today I am putting together tomorrow night’s class, a different one from the async class, which is a 3 hour Zoom class. I also have piles of grading to do.

  59. We usually don’t do too much for Valentine’s. For the last few years, we’ve gotten a heart shaped pizzas, but I think we are skipping that. I had a Sunday morning zoom call with some friends, then FaceTimed with family, then got inspired to shovel our 3 car driveway. Man, it’s cold outside. Now I’m in by the fire watching The Morning Show and feeling very accomplished with my shoveling in 1 degree weather. That’s today’s actual high, not wind chill. Tomorrow is colder.

  60. We don’t usually do much for Valentine’s Day, but sometimes we are away if the day falls in the winter break. A lot of our friends are in Vermont because they went skiing and the quarantine rules aren’t as strict since it is a border state. It is cold here, but we don’t have the bitter cold that some of you are dealing with this week.

    We are about to place an order for dinner, and we also went to a favorite bakery earlier today to get a bunch of treats.

  61. I made banana bread and got started on the taxes. I can’t finish them til mid-March, which is when we get the last of the paperwork. But if I fill out the organizer and start scanning all the documents, maybe I won’t be in a total panic when the final paperwork arrives and I’m left staring at the huge file folder.

  62. DH did the taxes today…filed both federal and state and now we can relax.

    Mooshi, you really have a thankless job. That sounds like a ridiculous amount of work that needs to be done for the benefit of your students, but no one has a clue all the behind the scenes work. Hopefully you class isn’t filled with slackers who don’t bother trying

  63. We don’t do much for Valentine’s Day – I got a card and chocolates for everyone (including chocolates for me in the kind that I like!) and yesterday I made heart cookies and brownies, but otherwise I spent yesterday doing wash and today cleaning.

    We always go on extension for our taxes since the K-1s come in so late, but we already sent in DH’s transactions to the accountant so she can get started on those.

  64. This group of students is good. It is a co-listed grad/undergrad class. It is a special topics for the undergrads/ The grad students are all decent, mostly data science people, and the undergrads are in it because they want to be in a class on this advanced topic, knowing it will be hard. SO I kind of want to do right by them. The more thankless task is spending all of today putting together slides on regular expressions for a class that is mainly IT and cybersecurity who don’t want to be there.

  65. I am so happy to have a holiday tomorrow. I was glad to log off work on Friday. I still have a few days off from last year that I need to use up. Lots of people took Friday off, so it was quiet after weeks of busyness. I had to pause my baking this weekend, we had treats arrive that everyone is nibbling on. By the time next weekend rolls around it will be down to empty shelves. Baking can commence again.

  66. “We always go on extension for our taxes since the K-1s come in so late”

    How soon can you file for an extension?

    I’ve read many times that it’s desirable to file early, before any identity thieves file a fake return using your SSN. So I’m thinking that filing an extension early might have a similar benefit of thwarting such identity thieves.

  67. We finally made it to Corvallis. Our flight ended up over an hour late because we had to get de-iced and then it had a longer flying time. There’s lots of snow and ice in Portland but it’s in the 40s here so just rain. Inside dining is closed and we didn’t want to sit outside so we ordered pizza, and it was very good. It even came 10 minutes early and was piping hot. Now we’re waiting for our 6 pool reservation.

  68. Any advice/experience with acne patches? The microneedle ones especially, but also the hydrocolloid patches?

    Any particular brands with which you’ve had good/bad experiences?

  69. Austin and Houston: How are you hanging in there? Do you still have power? Sending lots of warm thoughts your way!!

  70. I am watching the Today show and there were several stories about the weather around the country. I can’t believe the temps and snowfall amounts in places like Texas and Seattle. It is not fun when it happens here, but this is typical winter so we are prepared. I was feeling sorry for myself this week because I wish I was in a warm place, but the news this morning made me appreciate my current situation.

  71. @Finn, I use the pimple patches. For micro needle, I like both Rael and Acropass and would choose between those based on price. For the hydrocolloid, Mighty Patch. All on amazon.

  72. We’ve been without power since before midnight and got about an inch of snow. It’s quite chilly in the house but we have the fire going. It’s supposed to remain below freezing all day so I hope they restore power soon, although I’m sure DS would be happy to miss class if it’s not back on soon.

    Our hot water taps aren’t working. We have a tankless hot water system- its gas-heated, but I have no idea if that requires electricity to work in some way. I’m leaving it to DH to deal with.

    Our homeless aren’t equipped for this kind of cold. I hope they were successful in getting them indoors.

  73. Becky: Sorry, I forgot to include you in my concern! How could I forget?? I’ve been streaming the local channel over here and it looks beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. Stay under your blankets, and I hope the power is restored soon.

  74. I was surprised to hear about the rolling blackouts in Texas. Is that because everyone has a heat pump, instead of gas furnace? Pardon my ignorance.

  75. We did kinda nothing for Valentines. Cards, I made broiled lobster for dinner; DW baked mint-chocolate crinkle cookies (more of a Christmas thing, but wanted to use up the box mix). We had a fire and both read for a couple of hours. The fire was for ambience, not actual heat.

    I looked at the weather channel and saw 18-24″ of snow is predicted for Little Rock, AR thru Thursday. and potentially two 10″ storms for Memphis this week. Actually amazing cold and snow for the south. We’re supposed to get maybe 8-10″ tonight thru tomorrow and then another shot later in the week. Since there is in-person school here, that’ll just go to all-remote for tomorrow, I’m sure.

    I started our taxes this weekend; probably 90% done. I have to wait on a couple of partnership K-1s which never come in till mid-late March. And for some reason the 1099 for our taxable account always seems to have a St. Patty’s Day revision. I know we’ll get small refunds from both the Feds and State. I will also do them without DS3; it may work out to be better for the family unit overall and also qualify him for stimulus check #3 if he stands alone.

    NYS opened up Covid vaccine appts to those with underlying conditions and DW & I qualify (fatness). Top of my to do list this morning, but DS2 “couldn’t sleep” so he signed us up at 2am. Only a month out. I mean “only” seriously, because I thought it’d be mid-summer.

  76. LT: There are several contributing factors for the power outages. Texas has a lot of wind power, but half the wind turbines are frozen and aren’t turning. There isn’t enough natural gas to supply the natgas power plants (demand > supply). When power plants are suddenly exposed to these conditions they sometimes freak out and stuff breaks (that’s the technical explanation anyway).

  77. I never thought about the wind turbines. It just seems crazy to me that they’ll turn off power in winter, but I understand there probably isn’t another way around it. brrr.

  78. Fred, sounds like a nice Valentine’s Day. I think your appointments are a month out because the vaccines started today, but registration opened yesterday at 8am. I don’t know how she managed it, but my SIL found an appointment for herself that is later this week. only five miles from home.

    My DH is happy about his appointment at the end of this month. I could actually see the relief in his face when he secured a slot.

  79. Swim — how exciting! Let me know if I can be of any help while you’re down this way — laurafrombaltimore (at) gmail.

    We had a nice Valentine’s day, which is fairly unusual for us, because we don’t usually do anything. The lobster rolls from Goldbelly were a hit and very good quality (as in, intact claws and complete small tails), so I was happy. My gift to DH was that I signed up for a class to learn to make Momofuku buns, which are freaking delicious; his gift to me got stuck in the mail, so I still have that to look forward to. I also experimented with sesame balls, including DIY lotus seed paste, and the very last round I made Sunday night was as good as I can make them. Meanwhile, DH has now brought in the huge — and I do mean huge, it’s like 12′ long and solid cherry — piece of furniture he made for our family room TV wall. It’s basically a tonsu shape, but intentionally irregular because of the oddities of the room, and a couple of the cabinet doors are my favorite iridescent glass, and I just completely love it.

  80. Sunshine, thanks.

    DD is not a very good shopper. Amazon sells the Rael patches in packages of 9, and she ordered 2 packages at 11.99 each, rather than the 2-pack of packages for 21.99.

  81. Hmmm…having trouble embedding a picture. The first link above should work.

    HFN (& Lfb), thanks very much for the info. The restaurant menu in Greenville looks fantastic! And the idea of a run on a trail with blooming daffodils sounds heavenly right now. The two posts above are mine, showing a scene from our snowshoe hike yesterday, we stopped at a frozen waterfall & snapped a picture because the partially thawed ice above the rocks was beautiful.

    I traveled to Knoxville for work years ago in either late Feb or early March and the temperature and greenery difference were definitely uplifting.

    On that note, I have made an effort to get outside for some sort of exercise every day since Christmas. The shortest has been a mile walk, and once or twice the only outside time was to shovel snow (bleh), but every day last week I was able to get out at about 4:30 to a local state park for a snowshoe hike with either DH or my one running friend who I see. The difference in my mood this winter as compared to previous winters has been remarkable. The weather here in January was mild so it was possible to get out regularly to run, and when the snow came it stayed cold and the snowshoeing was fantastic, the best we’ve had in years. Outside time is really helping this year.

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