We Go Together Like…

It’s almost too easy to identify why we allow some people into our lives.  We know they are there for moral support, or because of family ties being so…binding. But, what about those people who you have in your life and are bonded to that are just not like you at ALL?  Has someone ever looked at the two of you and noted how they can’t believe you’re friends?

Let me first point out that not all family ties are binding beyond sharing a surname or DNA. Some people in the world make up their own family of friends and compatriots who love and support them in the same way as a family. That’s one of the most beautiful things about the human race, I think–choice. You get to choose who you will bond with and stay close to.

One person who is the polar opposite of me in many ways is my sister, Nadine. We grew up in the same house, with the same parents and the same rules, but have many differences. I could sit her and mention all of the things about her that are different from me, but that’s not my goal. My goal is to point out the things about Nadine that keep us bonded as sisters as well as friends:

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–Nadine is always duckface ready…another way we’re different.

1.  Nadine makes the best facial expressions I have ever witnessed in my life.

My sister is a woman of few words, for the most part. She is without a doubt the strong silent type, but she is far from non-expressive. I can tell exactly what my sister is thinking by the way that she moves her eyebrows or her lips. She and I have many inside jokes that have no words. They are simple facial expressions or dance moves.  Also, if you can crack her up…you’re good.  🙂

2.  My sister is not ever on time for anything, ever.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “How could this be something that keeps you bonded to your sister?” Save for the fact that I can be a little time challenged myself when it comes to my weekends or gym activities (sigh), I acknowledge the fact that my sister always ALWAYS will stay late. She’ll be the person to stay and help you clean up after a party; she’s the person who will help you in the kitchen while others chat in the living room. Nadine, even though she’s not the first person to say it like I am, is the type of person who lets her actions speak for her. If she loves you and wants to make you happy, she does it.  She doesn’t ask for a lot of praise about it…she just does those things.

3.  Nadine is blatantly honest.  

My sister will tell you if you have something in your teeth, if your fly is down, or ask what the heck you were thinking when you bought that shirt?  She’ll ask me, “Are you sure that’s what you want to buy?”  because she knows that I suffer from buyer’s remorse more often than not.  At least if she’s asked, she’s done her job. Being the person who is always honest isn’t an easy thing to do.  She’s got to break things to people that they might not want to hear. I value that honesty in my sister.

So, who’s the Oil to your Vinegar?  Who’s the Pickles to your Ice Cream?  Who is the person you shouldn’t go well with…but you couldn’t live without ’em?

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This is the real essence of our friendship right here.

But I Can Explain!

When you reach a certain age, it’s almost expected that you’ve seen a specific cannon of movies.  There are some movies you just HAVE to have seen…Star Wars, Annie, The Godfather, Lord of the Rings, Gone with the Wind, The Birds, etc.  It took quite awhile for me to sit down and watch a few of these…I saw The Godfather because my dear friend Amy insisted one afternoon when we were in our 20’s. Many others I’ve seen just because they seem like an excellent idea. Some, though, just don’t call to me in the same way. Most would advise seeing them just for the sake of seeing them…and I can understand that to a certain extent.  You’ve got to have a well-rounded background to talk movies, right?  Well, I’m here to admit that I haven’t seen a single Star Wars or Lord of the Rings Movie.

Let me give you a moment to gasp, because here comes another knockout punch:  I have no real desire to do so.

I can explain, I swear!  These are movies that just never came up as something I had to watch.  I was so busy exploring other off the wall titles that I just didn’t pick up some of the movies that some would consider cannon.  I went my own way; I was also a child of habit.  I’d have my same stand-by faves to watch (and, for the most part I still do.  Give me anything Wes Anderson or off beat with a good soundtrack, and I’m entertained).  But it all really started on my childhood Friday nights.

I can honestly say that for a long while, I’ve considered myself a movie buff.  When I was young, my family’s Friday night ritual was a pizza from Fasano’s in Bridgeview, IL (STILL the best thin crust pizza, might I add) and then stopping at the local video store for a few VHS tapes. It was cheap, easy and always a fun experience.  Lots of times, my sister and I would have our cousins sleeping over, as we both had a cousin who was close to our age.  My mom would order the “Hovanec Special” (extra large half cheese half sausage, mushroom and onion with an order of tomato bread), my dad would pile us all into our van and we’d be on our way!

At the video store, my sister, cousins and I would go to the two very same sections: Comedy and New Releases.  We were there so often that the manager knew my dad and would put the new things aside for us to choose from first.  (That, really, is just a Charlie Hovanec perk.  That man can talk to any person about any old thing and make you feel like you’re his BFF for life).  My cousin Natalie and I would almost always make it a point to take home Back to the Beach which starred Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello and Lori Laughlin.

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-via IMDb

I don’t remember why we loved this movie so much, other than it was a feel good beach movie about a girl who wanted the freedom to date someone her parents would never approve of.  Then, of course, there was a surf battle and Annette and Frankie saved the day.  Why did a 10 and 12 year old love this so much?  I’m not sure, but suffice it to say that my awesome cousin Natalie bought me this baby for my birthday last year, and you can bet I’ve watched it since then.

My sister and I were famous for loving our Cabbage Patch kids, so you can understand that as we got older, and the 80’s never really took itself too seriously, we found ways to continue loving these toys without looking too “babyish.”  We all know that when you’re a kid, not looking like a baby is the most important thing to your childhood pride.  The Garbage Pail Kids was a movie that starred some very scary-looking and gross versions of the Cabbage Patch kids that were the rage of the 80’s.  The plot is basically unbelievable, includes some singing and dancing life-size babies with big heads and as many grotesque bodily functions as one can pack into a movie.  Oh, and one of the characters has the head of an alligator.

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-via IMDb

I bought my sister this movie last year for Christmas, and let me tell you that when we sat down to watch it recently, I could not remember what the heck I thought was so awesome about it!  But, something about the movie did make me smile and reminisce remembering the video store trips on Friday nights.

I can’t remember when those trips ended.  My family moved away from the Justice area a long, long time ago, but it was over much before that.  I believe it was when I got a job and started working on the weekends.  My family was still ordering pizza and hitting the video store (I’m pretty sure that’s what we’d call it whether we were renting a VHS tape or a Blu-Ray), but the togetherness and the sleepovers were just not a thing we’d get to do.  I realize that part with a bit of sadness, but I believe that not remembering WHY something ended means that what you DO keep are the awesome memories that these things happened.

Now Eat THIS….

Well, let me begin this post by expressing my anger for WordPress post scheduling. Twice now a post I’ve scheduled has not made its way to you, dear blog and readers and not known about it until I log in to write the next post.  This is SEVERELY unnerving for someone who keeps her ducks in a neat little row for the most part.  So, let me give you the short but sweet version of the blog you SHOULD have gotten yesterday!

Thursdays are now known on my blog as Now Eat This Thursdays!  I love food, and I’ve had my challenges with it.  But in the past year, I’ve really made a thoughtful attempt to improve my eating and cooking habits.  I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease, so following a Gluten Free diet has become very influential in this turn for the healthy.  It’s very easy when you’re living on your own to eat cereal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But, neither of those things are good food staples…once in awhile, of course! (I’m not a sadist for cryin out loud).  Healthy, fresh and GF are my most important focuses when it comes to cooking now.  I’m also a proponent of extra sleep, so making things in a family size quantity and then refrigerating/freezing them in smaller, lunch size containers keeps me in bed for an extra few minutes on my 6 days of work that require a lunch.

In order to accomplish my goals, I turned to one of my favorite social networking sites, Pinterest, for many a food inspiration.  It’s been so great to share recipes, ideas and factoids on that site.  If you haven’t tried it out, please do the best/worst thing you will ever do for yourself and sign up for an account.

Here are a few things I’ve made and really, really enjoyed lately.

Click on the title of the section to get taken directly to the site responsible for both these images and the recipe!

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow

Image via Gimme Some Oven

Image via Gimme Some Oven

This treat was a great twist on a classic favorite for me.  I used Rice Chex cereal for this recipe, and they are Gluten Free!  Of course, tis the season for all things pumpkin spice, so all I had to do was add a bit of pumpkin pie seasoning.  I did, though, adjust the recipe to use half regular chocolate and half white chocolate chips because I’m not generally a fan of white chocolate.  Many thanks to the bloggers over at Gimme Some Oven.  Visit them and pin the recipe to your Food boards!

Crockpot Chicken with Apples and Sweet Potato

Image via the Stockpiling Moms

Image via the Stockpiling Moms

This was one of my favorite dinners of the week!  I have a small crockpot that I use whenever I can, and this treat really spoke to me because I happened to have all of the things in the house already!  I really wanted to use some honey crisp apples that I had in the house as well, but I was a bit too nervous with this recipe. It called for so little liquid–just 1 cup of applesauce and 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar.  Just to be safe, I added some butter and a cup of water.  The result was a delicious stew-like dinner whose leftovers I’ve been happily chowing down!  I ate this dish plain, but it would be great served with rice or a nice noodle.

Slow Cooker Chili

Image via Cooking Classy

Image via Cooking Classy

So, I also unabashedly made this one for Roy and I to have last Sunday for dinner.  I’ve always been a great chili chef, but I didn’t have a solid recipe for a crockpot.  I went to this recipe and was not disappointed!  I added a few more onions and a bit more garlic, because that’s how I like my chili.  One ingredient I hadn’t put in my chili before was cocoa powder, but it really added a great layer of flavor!  I’m also a fan of serving chili with noodles on the side and cheese and sour cream for toppings.  We stopped at my local market and picked up a fresh made cornbread to avoid having to make any of our own, and let me tell you, it was a great pairing with the chili.

Pepperoni Pizza Cauliflower Casserole

Image via IBreatheI'mHungry

Image via IBreatheI’mHungry

 If you’ve ever seen people saying that you can substitute caluiflower for all of the starchy things you miss as a Celiac’s patient, you’ve probably been doubtful.  That is…until you try it!  The cauliflower tasted  perfectly starchy and held up as well as any noodle or potato would have.  This recipe reads like it can be served as an entire meal, but after eating it for a meal, I’d go with it as a side dish.  I substituted turkey pepperoni, and I could see using sausage in the future as an option, too!

Moscato Raspberry Punch

Image via The Pampered Jes

Image via The Pampered Jes

This punch is fantastic for a brunch or lunch.  It’s sweet and easy on the gullet.  You can’t go wrong with this as your go-to drink!  We made this for a patented “Girly Night” where my friends and I leave kids and significant others at home and..end up talking about kids and significant others. 🙂

Well guys, there you have it!  If you’re on Pinterest, look me up and let’s share some more awesome recipes!