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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Burger Salad

This is my idea for a restaurant: We serve burgers but in salad form. My inspiration is me and my lunch/dinner. I eat this all the time. Here are some examples of burger salads I like:

Veggie burger with spinach, tomatoes and Laughing Cow cheese, drizzled with Ranch.
Leftover turkey burger with spinach, hard boiled egg, shredded cheese, black beans, avocado, drizzled with Ranch.
Black bean veggie burger with spinach, Laughing Cow cheese, ravioli, drizzled with Ranch.

I realize I didn't exactly invent the burger salad. I mean, when I went to look for pics on the internet there were plenty. But here are some things that give my burger salads an edge:

I usually put the salad stuff ON TOP of the burger. That's because I heat up the burger in the microwave and it makes more sense (and uses fewer dishes) to just throw all the fixing on top.

I'm not afraid to toss in pasta, or really any leftovers, into the salad.

I don't even cut up the burger. It's more fun to cut it up while you eat the burger salad.

I use a huge bowl!

But here are some things I need to tweak before I open my restaurant:

I should probably experiment with different salad dressings. Right now Ranch is my go-to for burger salads.

Also in the variety department, I need to branch out on my greens. It's just that spinach is so good for you. If I have to eat leaves, I want them to at least be a super food, ya know?

I gotta come up with a better name for the restaurant than "Burger Salad." What about bunless burgers? Or Green Burgers? Or just B.S.?

At B.S.'s (placeholder name), we will have themed burger salads like the Mexican which will include my favorite black bean burger with sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, tomatoes. (Ranch would probably be overkill on this one.)
The Californian would probably have sprouts and avocados because that's basically what that means.
The Greek would have olives even though I don't like them but that's really what you're saying if you call it Greek.
I'd have to have a buffalo one for Frank with a bison burger, buffalo sauce and blue cheese.
A Hawaiian one with pineapples...note: put more fruit in burger salads.
Ooh, and what about a breakfast one with eggs and bacon...and Cheerios? (JK on the last part. It would be too expensive to pay to have Cheerios in the name.)

I welcome any other burger salad ideas you may have. Please note I will not be able to officially compensate you for the idea or even name it after you. I will, however, give you free refills on fountain drinks at the time of your first purchase*

*Offer valid only at Georgia and Texas locations. Not to be combined with any other discounts. Offer valid only with purchase of $20 or more in burger salads. Dine-in only. Must mention this blog to redeem and must have notarized form saying you invented one of the burger salads on the menu. Person redeeming offer must also purchase a Burger Salad t-shirt and wear it at time of purchase. Must promise to wash Burger Salad t-shirt and wear it at least once a week following first purchase and continue wearing as long as the restaurant is in existence. Expires 4/1/12.

Hanging with the Big Boys

When it comes to playing, Gus is sort of advanced. That's because he has a big brother to watch and imitate. Gus wants to play with Leo and his friends so badly. Too bad Leo always says, "Pick up him!" whenever Gus gets near his toys. He's even more interested in Leo's toys than his own.
Here are some examples of all the big boy things Gus can do at the young age of nine months:

Swinging with Pascal:

Chilling with Pascal and Tyler:

Escaping because...
...he's gotta climb the rock wall!

Getting a push from Etienne:

Acting silly with Leo:

More acting silly with Leo and taking the lead!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pajama Party

It hadn't occurred to me to match the boys. I think because Gus was always wearing onesies and Leo would have objected to snaps in his crotch. Also, most of Gus' clothes were once Leo's so it's not like we were gonna buy new clothes for both of them.

Enter Grandmother.

We went to Carter's while she was visiting and she made out like a bandit for grandparent discount day. (Wednesdays, btw). Included in the lot were two sets of matching dinosaur pajamas that say "T Rex Racing." (Leo's choice.)

We dressed G and L in them and then attempted to take pics. Frank kept saying, "Gus is the instigator!" Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Truth about Trader Joe's

You just mention "Trader Joe's" and people get all giddy: "Oh, I LOVE Trader Joe's!" "Trader Joe's has the coolest stuff!" and "I wish we had a Trader Joe's near us!" And I would agree. Trader Joe's has a funky vibe; they have products you can't find anywhere else and their staff wear Hawaiian shirts. What could be better?

I've got two Trader Joe's around me, each about seven miles away. That's kinda close but I pass about five other grocery stores to get there. So, while I thought I would frequent TJ's, I really don't.

But lately I've thought I should go there more often. I heard their produce is superior and even the prices are better than mainstream grocers. I thought I'd go there for the produce and try to get all my shopping done. Lots of people I know use it as their main grocery store.

I was not successful when I approached it as a one-stop-shop for all my grocery needs. For instance, I was making something that required cream of chicken soup. TJ's doesn't have things like cream of chicken soup. They also don't have normal cheese, just fancy stuff. Forget apple sauce, just pear sauce. (And 3-year-olds CAN tell the difference). Bread? Just the hoity-toity kind (i.e. hard). Yes, they do have great produce and lots of specialty cheeses. Their meat is great and you can find lots of fun things in their frozen food aisle. Still, I would have to hit another grocery store to complete my list.

And while the people who work there are knowledgable and generally helpful, they look at you like you're speaking a foreign language if you ask for non-organic black beans. The other day I was checking out (with half my list unfulfilled) and I tried to hand my bags to the cashier, one by one. She gave me a mock laugh and said, "Um, you just put them over there" and pointed to the bagging area. She acted like I didn't know the protocol. And that's when I realized what it is that irks me about Trader Joe's. Remember that line from Reality Bites that Ben Stiller said? "Excuse me if somebody doesn't know the secret handshake."

That's what I want to say to the patrons and employees of Trader Joe's. "Excuse me if somebody doesn't know the secret handshake." It's like you have to be in the know just to shop there. "Oh, you want baking powder? We only have coconut oil powder!" "Napkins? Sure, we've got brown, cardboard ones for $20."

So yes, it's got cool stuff but I get so aggravated when I try to buy things beyond the novelty there.

And back to the checkout lady and the secret handshake, what's with the tiny shelf where we put our groceries? I need a conveyor belt, people! I was so annoyed with that girl after she made me feel like the new kid at school that when she forgot to ring up some peas of mine and she didn't charge me for them, I didn't even say thank you. That was hard. But I did it. And then I drove over to Kroger's to get all the things I really needed.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Gus has been here nine months

Goose, Gus-Gus, Mus, Gussy, Gusaloo...after nine months a person can get lots of nick names. (We only hear "August" at the doctor's office though.)

I'd say the theme of the last month has been "Gus on the move." He's just so busy, getting around and getting into everything. He crawls super fast and he's even starting to try to climb
the stairs. (He can get up one step.)

As of yesterday, he can even pull up! I saw him pull up on the bath tub but grandmother said he had already pulled up on the couch. Frank had to lower his crib mattress or we would have had the youngest escapee. He's so active that I think he's losing weight (or at least not growing as rapidly as he once was). He's starting to lose that baby fat which is sad but it's also fun to see what his face really looks like underneath all the chub.

Gus' other trick is growing teeth. He's got FIVE--two on the bottom and three on the top. He wants to bite on everything and I mean everything. (Starting to rethink this whole "breastfeeding till their one" idea.)

Now let's talk about Gus' favorite subject: food. He likes everything we put in front of him and now enjoys three meals a day in his high chair. He still eats purees along with his finger food but he always steals the spoon from me, making it a messy battle. When I opened the pantry the other day while holding Gus, the kid practically hyperventialated at the sight of all the Cheerios.

He's an excellent sleeper. I think I have his thumb and blanket to thank for that. He just sucks that thumb and holds his soft blankie and goes to sleep. Most importantly, he stays that way!

He's still very good natured, so content to just sit and watch every
one. He also smiles and laughs really easily. Exceptions: when we put him in his car seat and when a meal is over.

It's fun to see him start to take an interest in toys. Now we have to have a supply of them at the ready. He likes balls, teething toys and recently
has taken an interest in soft blocks. If he had his way he'd prefer to play with cords and shoes. His favorite playmate is his big brother Leo. Although the feeling is not always mutual.

We love you, Gus! Happy nine months!