Thursday, March 11, 2010

What I Like About....

In the midst of scenes like last night - in which I wondered what smelled bad, then looked down and realized I was still wearing a shirt adorned with copious amounts of spit-up - it is high time I Give Credit Where Credit Is Due.

A few products have been hanging around the ol' ranch for a while. I keep meaning to mention them.

Then Jack cries.

Then I get stuck on a kick of "styling" my friends for the Oscars by scouring the internet for photos of couture gowns from Spring 2010 runways, then scouring again for accessories and hair do's.

It was a great moment when I realized that the Chanel gown I'd chosen for lovely friend Audra in this "fantasy Red Carpet" game was worn by none other than style icon Sarah Jessica Parker to - yes - the Oscars.

She shoots, she scores.

Anyone need styled for a formal event? Anyone? Anyone?


Anyway, so I've been meaning to mention What I Like About several products I've bumped into lately. So here we go.

First, let me tell you What I Like About Truvia.

I've been a Splenda girl for quite a while. Since, in fact, one winter I counted up the number of calories I consumed simply from beverages - I was a dedicated loose tea drinker as well as a coffee drinker. Between the two, I could easily use sugar in five cups of warm beverages a day. That's ten teaspoons.

No, I was not open to less sweet coffee or tea. Don't ask stupid questions.

A friend loved Splenda, and I took the plunge and gave it a whirl. I'd never been a fan of artificial sweeteners, but the "tastes like sugar, made from sugar" commercials got to me.

I was sold. It was...kind of like sugar. A little in-your-face, but no terrible side tastes grabbing for your attention. It was discovered that my perfect amount of Splenda per cup of tea was 1 1/2 packets.

Fast forward. I read about "stevia" in a magazine and see commercials for it on TV, about how it's a plant from which sweetener can be naturally derived. I laugh, and think, "what's next? sweetening your coffee with "ralphia" or "frankia"? But Truvia is a natural sweetener derived from stevia, and I think "hmm, I pregnant. I'm not going to put a lot of thought into this, but natural sounds wise at least on the surface." There are 0 calories in Truvia, and it was slightly cheaper than Splenda.

I tried it.

I like it. In fact, I've switched. I still like Splenda. But I'm a sucker for new packaging.

Enter the nemesis: Sun Crystals.

People, Stay Away From Sun Crystals. You may see it sitting next to Truvia in the store and think "Sun Crystals. Now why don't I try those?"

Because I told you not to, that's why. It's awful. I'm not throwing anything away these days - hello, recession.

I threw the entire box away, because I couldn't bring myself to donate it to someone less fortunate than I. They would curse the day I entered the food pantry.

So What I Like About Truvia? 0 calories. Naturally derived. Nothing like Sun Crystals. Slightly cheaper than Splenda. Cool design on the package.

I should mention that Truvia isn't going to give your beverage a super sweet taste - but it will remove bitterness. It's sweet enough I've been using it for several months in my tea.

Second, let's talk about What I Like About Mrs. Meyers.

A while back - a few months, a couple years, a former life, who knows - I noticed fantastic cleaning products in charming retro packaging. It looked like everything I wanted in a cleaning product - I mean, don't you trust the warm, maternal Mrs. Meyers better than, say, a faceless company called "Dawn"? Anyway, it looked like everything I wanted - except it was obscenely expensive - at least at Kroger's.

Then, THEN, my friend, I found a clearance cart recently. I love clearance signs. They're like rainbows for your wallet.

Pardon that. To paraphrase a Gwyneth Paltrow Oscar speech, I'm leaking all my brain cells through my breast milk.

Anyway, lo! and behold, Mrs. Meyer's dish detergent was on clearance for $1.99 a bottle. I did a happy dance in my soul and put two in the cart. People, it was scented lemon verbena. Ofcourse I put two in the cart. I brought it home.

I love it. I like squirting it in gross skillets, I like washing my hands with it, I like soaking crock pots in it. I like the way it makes my kitchen smell, I like the retro label as it sits on the counter, and I like that a nice plump Jewish lady like Mrs. Meyer's is sitting somewhere polishing silver. Unless, of course, that illusion is akin to Opus' illusion of Betty Crocker in Bloom County. It's entirely possible.

And that's What I Like About Mrs. Meyers.

Let's finish up with What I Love About Smart Ones desserts.

I've been a Lean Cuisine fan for several years. Not that I'm hugely enthusiastic about frozen dinners in general, mind you. But at a couple bucks a pop, they're quick and easy, fairly tasty, healthy, and work whether you're a single gal working in a nursing home, or a new mom too tired to cook.

But I just took a look at Smart Ones. And by a look, I mean a taste.

Mmmmm. One involved cheese and rigatoni. (New mamas have to steer clear of the alluring spicy dishes.)

But then - then - I saw the dessert. Oh, sweet merciful heavens. Now, I'm all for homebaked chocolate souffle with drizzled fudge sauce - and yes, I've made that, and it was delectable.

But sometimes, you've just had a baby. Sometimes, eating something that took two sticks of butter or a cup of sugar or four eggs - or all of the above - doesn't seem quite prudent.

Sometimes, you're elbow-deep in less than kindly scented diapers.

Now, I've had low fat ice cream and frozen treats - some, like Edy's Slow Churned, is pretty good. Some, like Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, is good if you're not paying too much attention.

But let me introduce you to Smart Ones.

Take it out of the package and let thaw on counter for five minutes. Done. Blam-o. And it tastes better than other low-fat frozen treats.

And THAT is What I Like About that.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Lost Month

I'm emerging from a post-partum, new parent coma-like existence. I'm blinking. The world is bright.

I'm pretty sure I've been hibernating. All I remember of the last couple of months is condensed into vague recollections and blurred colors. I have evidence of emails I've sent - there are replies in my inbox. My camera holds photos I've apparently taken. There is clean laundry in dressers - I must have done it at some point. The dogs are still alive. I think Sweet Husband mostly had something to do with that. Even my ivy and shamrock on the kitchen table are still perched with leaves toward the sun - or window, in any event.

Lost is in its last season, and I think new parents everywhere can understand the show's premise: something cataclysmic happens. You're disoriented, stumbling around. You attempt to create a new existence. Strange noises come at you through the night while you sleep.

But I've been rescued off the island - Jack has begun to sleep through the night. A rare blessing, from what I hear, from a two-month-old. Slowly, random scenes are flickering across my vision, a few haphazard memories returning. Sweet Husband is present to confirm my suspicions.

"I remembered something this morning about you saying a few days ago that Steve called. Is that true, or did I dream it?"

"Oh, yeah, he called."




And there you have the results of sleeping two, three, four hours at a time, after going through the physical and emotional trauma of childbirth.

Then again, I may be off the island, but lingering effects remain. For instance, the other day, to my friend Angie:

"Why are we standing in this line again? OH. Right. Lunch."

For about five seconds I could not, for the life of me, recall what I was in line for. Even though there was a counter - with food - that smelled good - five feet in front of us.

Hello, brief introduction to dementia. See you again in fifty years, or the next time I have a child.

I'm lucky I even remember I have a blog.

But what's Lost can, indeed, be Found - even if I have to look for it so long I forget what I'm searching for.