Laura's List

1. I am obsessed with spinach and I will try to get a handful of chopped spinach into everything I can. It is one of my personal challenges in life, and my kids and husband have resigned themselves to it.

2. I rarely drink or let my kids drink juice, unless it's diluted, and as a result, they think undiluted juice is too sweet. This proves my theory that you can retrain your taste buds. Diluted juice is 1/4 to 1/2 the calories of straight-up juice.

3. I grew up with Miracle Whip and margarine. We also had green jell-o mold at Thanksgiving dinner. Served on a leaf of iceberg lettuce.
4.  I once ate 7 straight meals of sushi, including breakfast. I love sushi. When I say that I could eat it for breakfast, I am being totally serious. I had no problem giving up alcohol during my pregnancies, but sushi was hard.  And it is possible that I may have had an occasional tuna roll during all of my pregnancies. I can't recall exactly.  You can't prove anything.

5. I hate garlic presses.  I think it's easier to smash the clove of garlic with a can or something (I usually use my mortar which I keep on the window sill), peel the paper skin off, and chop it up with a knife. It takes about 10-15 seconds. I chop quickly. It takes a lot more time to clean out the garlic press. And how do you get all those little holes clean? I've never understood the point of the garlic press.  I know some people swear by it. I find it useless.

6. Until relatively recently- let's just say adulthood- I didn't realize that mushrooms were not a standard part of Mexican food. Or spinach or green onions for that matter. So all those mushroom, spinach, green onion and white cheddar quesadillas? It's good, but you can't order it in Mexico.
7. Green onions and cilantro are staples. Oh, and spinach.

8. I am very picky about my apples, and can tell many varieties (at least the ones that we grew on our farm) by sight and taste. My all-time favorite apple is the Mutsu or Crispin apple. I hate Red Delicious apples, and consider them inedible.

9. I will eat a lot of things, but I draw the line at blood pudding.  Once when I was little, my mom slaughtered a couple of ducks and drained their blood to make blood pudding. I will enjoy duck, but I draw the line at blood pudding.

10. I first made Eggplant Chutney when I was 15 years old. I had a really difficult time trying to find fenugreek in my little midwestern small town, especially when I couldn't even drive.  I don't know what inspired or possessed me to try it. Maybe it was the "Keeps refrigerated for 1 month."

11. If I've been working overnight, I consider it my right to have fried chicken the next day. I only do this about 2-3 times per year, but I will buy a drumstick or two of that crappy fried chicken at the grocery store, and maybe something else just so I don't appear crazy, and I will furtively eat the fried chicken in my car before I get home so I don't have to share with my kids. If you see an unkempt woman in her car eating fried chicken at 8 am, LOOK AWAY! She does not want your scrutiny or judgement.

12. Nothing I ever try to make in a crockpot ever turns out. Ever.  Claire even once put everything together and we just put it in the crockpot at my house, and I still managed to mess it up. She is still scratching her head about that one.  All the crockpot recipes you see on this blog are hers and hers alone.