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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: 2010-05-16

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

R is for Rob (a long, long post)

I'm a terrible wife.  A terrible, terrible wife.

Here I am, spending the entire day wondering what my R post should be for this week's Alphabe-Thursday.  I wanted it to revolve around food, and was going to post the actual recipe for Reine de Saba (which I did tempt you with pictures of, but did not post the arduous yet rewarding process on this blog).  Still, I was kinda "eh" about it.  Maybe I would skip this week and just visit the other links instead.

Now let me share with you what just happened a few minutes ago.  My husband sees me with the netbook on my lap and asks if I'm blogging.  I say yes, I am.  He asks what I'm blogging about.  I say "spinach", since I was planning on crafting a post on my sauteed spinach recipe.  He says "Oh, you're on S this week?" - isn't it cute that he keeps track of these things? I shake my head and say "No, we're on R, but I can't think of anything to post about that starts with R".

And he looked at me like my head just fell off.

Since, ya know...his name is Rob.

And then I laughed really hard at myself, and felt like a bad wife.

So lemme tell ya a little something about Rob.  He did, after all, remind me that I could post about him.  Whether he regrets it after reading this is yet to be seen...

We met a little more than 4 years ago and from the very moment I started reading his reply to my rather sassy ad which he'd found online, I was definitely hooked.  I could see myself being really close with this person, regardless of the nature of our relationship.  He told me about himself, about his love of music (though he didn't tell me that he has, literally, over 60GB of music files on his computer) and the fact that he played guitar in a band, about being a good cook, and on and on.  After we met (two nights later), we continued our email friendship.  He had such a great sense of humor that I found myself anticipating his emails.  Sometimes we'd email several times throughout the day.  I still have those emails and they are SO CUTE!

And now we're married.  I'll skip all the in-between stuff because it's mushy and TMI and stuff - you don't need to read about that.

But I'll give you some facts on the man:

In case you didn't know this, Rob is pretty much obsessed with Disney and Mickey Mouse.  He spent a lot of vacations there as a kid.  But more than that, it taps into something inside him and he's not afraid to allow it.  He's just a big kid at heart.  A big kid with a Mickey tattoo on his right shoulder.

He dropped out of high school and ran away with a carnival.  True story.  And although he did of course leave the carnival and get his GED, he credits the time he spent there as what forced him to grow up.

Prior to leaving his job to care for his father, Rob was the IT Manager (actually, the only IT person in the company)/Marketing and Advertising Manager/Web Designer...did I forget a title, hon? his company.  And up until a couple of years ago when he started taking Microsoft certification courses, he was self-taught in every field.  If he didn't know how to do something, he'd look it up and work it out for himself.  He started as the company's temporary receptionist and worked his way up to managing the network and phones for several locations, plus designing the websites and the print ads and product brochures.  Imagine that!

(And let me tell you, they definitely know what they had now that he's gone.  But that's a whole other story which makes us both smile in smug satisfaction.  And yet, he still takes their frantic phone calls and spends hours on conference calls on their behalf.)

He also puts together and fixes computers. So it's nice if you know him and are on his good side.  He's saved friends and family much time and money by fixing problems for free.  Or a case of beer, but that's just because my dad can't handle having him do stuff for free.

Rob is quite handy as well.  Again, if he doesn't know how to do something he'll look it up and work it out.  His latest project is landscaping the backyard.  It went from this...

To this...

To this!

And that's just the beginning! You should see the plans he has in place.  The involve an enlarged patio, a pathway, rose bushes, possibly a pergola but that's just because he's been watching too much of the DIY Network...

Okay, I'm sure I'm boring you all with these details.  You should see how much I cut out of this post - evidently when I get started talking about him, I just can't stop.

So I'll wrap it up.  Every day Rob finds some way to make me laugh, make me think, make me appreciate him more.  He has shown so much compassion and strength in the past several months since his father got sick.  He might not think that he's doing such a good job most of the time, but I have the luxury of being able to look on from outside and see that he's doing a far better job than he knows.  He's also been a good boyfriend/fiance/husband to me, and in the face of what he's experienced lately, he has not forgotten about me or us for a second.  And I value that more than I can explain.

I love him, very much.

Jenny Matlock


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chicken Parmigiana and a NEW LOOK!

Welcome to my "new" site! This is all the work of NW Designs, and she's just awesome.  What do you think of the new look? I love the banner the most! And "veggie girl" at the bottom of the page, as we call her, is definitely inspiring me to diet so I can look more like her!

As I posted a few days back, one of the dishes I made for Mother's Day was Chicken Parmigiana.  This is probably one of my signature dishes, along with stuffed chicken.  It's my brother's favorite, and my dad always swears that it's as good if not better than anything he'd get in a restaurant.  But my dad says that about everything I make.  He's a good dad.

And Rob? Forget it.  True story: He'll order chicken parm at just about any restaurant.  I'm talking 95% of the meals we've eaten at restaurants in the past 4 years.

Anyway, here's how I make it happen:

First thing's first: I take boneless, skinless chicken breasts and put them in in a large freezer bag, then pound the daylights out of them until they're flat.  I don't take pictures of this because, well, my hands are all gross and chickeny.  I hope you understand.

Then it's a matter of three beaten eggs (for three breasts) and a plate full of breadcrumbs.  I like to add dried parsley, basil, oregano, garlic and onion powder and salt and pepper to the breadcrumbs.

I dredge the chicken through the breadcrumbs, then dip in the eggs, then again in the breadcrumbs, making sure to pat them firmly and get a nice thick crust. 


Ooooohhh, yeeeeeeahhhh...

Meanwhile, I heat a thin layer of vegetable oil until it is shimmery and when water is flicked on it, it sizzles.  When that happens, the time is right for browning.

THAT'S what I'm talking about, right there.  That wonderful, golden color.

Sidenote: Be careful not to drop the chicken when you're flipping it over.  The oil might burn you.  Just sayin'.

The chicken only takes a minute or two on each side, and it finishes cooking in the oven, which has been preheated to 375 degrees.  I take a large pan and spread a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, then place the chicken inside.

More sauce on top, and then the cheese of your choosing.  I choose mozzarella.

Tell me that doesn't look beautiful.  I dare you.

After 20 minutes in the oven, THAT happens, up there, above these words.  It's incredible, I tell ya.  You might need a little more time, depending on how thinly you pound the breasts.  But tender, and flavorful, and tasty!

Pairing it with pasta and possibly some homemade bread...well, that certainly doesn't hurt, either.