The Making of Pink Chicken and Other Random Occurrences

It seems like things have just been getting busier and busier the last few days. Yesterday Jay was getting ready to go to work this morning and so he wanted to make some kind of "treats" for the firefighters he works with. After ruling out several possibilities including several unpronounceable "desserts" (he wanted to make them but mom exercised veto power), he was convinced to just make brownies. Well, I shouldn't use the word "just"; somehow one of us came up with the brilliant idea of encouraging him to make MINT brownies. He made the brownies with a little mint flavoring in them, then we were going to try to make mint frosting. I was working on something else so I called directions out to Jay; "Add that little thing of cream cheese....a stick of real butter...a little vanilla....a little mint extract....and a box of powdered sugar." He hollered back that the measurement "a little" was unfamiliar to him and then hollered a few seconds later, "NIC! It's NOT WORKING! I think the cream cheese is curdling!" Mom was in another room, and was like, "No, you weren't supposed to use cream cheese!" I knew that I had wanted him to use cream cheese so I went in there to straighten it out. I couldn't believe what had gone on; I've never seen such hideous frosting in my entire existence. I don't know what exactly happened to it, but it vaguely resembled very small cottage cheese or something. I sat and stared at it awhile while he asked me if I could "fix it"....I said yes....there's always a way to fix it....I just didn't know how yet. So I started getting ready to add some stuff when I decided that I should probably just start over; it was for the firefighters and I didn't want to run the risk of feeing them something that would poison them and/or inhibit them from saving the public at large.
So I started over, made a batch of "real" frosting, which worked this time, and I was like, "Jay, what did you do that made it so....different than this? How many ways is there to put butter, vanilla, and sugar in a bowl?!"
He was like, "Well, maybe I shouldn't have melted the butter....."
Bingo. We put the "curdled" frosting aside and got the brownies actually frosted. Mom decided to try to rescue the "bad" frosting which was an equally bad idea because it was beyond redemption. So anyway, she started making these mint cookies, using the frosting, and they were very...different. Our combined culinary skills couldn't really do anything to make them remotely edible (my dad told us not to throw them away, though; he will eat almost anything in large quantities and he told us that he didn't mind them; we'll let him eat as many as he wants I guess).
About this time the phone rang and my sister answered it; it was a longtime friend of mine; I was working on some things so I deferred the phone call to my mom, who I heard talking to my friend. "Oh, hi!...how are you....yeah....would you like to come to dinner?...oh, okay....we'll see you at six." In my house, dinner plans can spring up with such little warning. Mom got off the phone and was like, "Oh, they're coming to dinner."
YIKES! I went running around the house trying to come up with something to have; somehow it seems like whenever company comes I can never think of something that they'll truly like. Well, anyway, I ended up deciding to make sweet and sour chicken, egg rolls, rice, and we served peaches and grapes from our trees/vines. It was quite a decision process to come to this, but it was one of those meals that requires so little prep time that it was supposed to be effortless. Of course, everything that I touch is never that simple, anyway, I thawed the chicken (in a hurry; they were coming quite quickly) by running tons of very hot water over it enough to break the pieces apart (if Hesperia has a drought in the near future I will take the blame entirely). After I got the chicken actually cooking, I started stir-frying vegetables for it, and somehow while Jay was assembling his brownies he decided that it would be a good idea to test-taste the vegetables. I don't know what earthly idea would possess someone to just come in there and start eating plain stir-fry vegetables but he did it, and received various degrees of complaint from various family members (except Mally, who I think would have joined him if she had been given the chance).
I didn't have time (or resources) to make my own sauce for the chicken so I literally just dumped a bottle of pre-made sweet/sour sauce into the chicken and vegetables, but as soon as I did I was like....this isn't like normal sweet/sour sauce. It was pink. Bright pink. Fluorescent pink. Hillary Duff pink. I was totally horrified. Anyway, our friends showed up early, I still had like 10 minutes of prep time, but after that we all ate. It was actually a really great time; I had a lot of fun and we laughed so much. (They didn't mind eating pink sauce....I did, though, and my dad did.....we both made a deal not to ever buy that kind of sauce again. I think next time I'll take the extra time and make my own, lol.)
They are really rich; their dad recently retired from a career with the Department of Water and Power, which may not sound like a very sophisticated job but it certainly pays well enough. They only have one daughter, who is my friend, so they regularly present my mom (and co.) with large quantities of unreasonably priced clothing. For some reason they enjoy spending tons of money on frilly clothes for our little girls, who do admittedly look adorable in them, but they are so expensive.
Anyway, they were telling us quite the epic story of a family party they went to where one of the highly inexperienced nieces had been given the official job of making mashed potatoes. I don't know about in your family, but in our family, the mashed potatoes aren't something that you just automatically get to make; you have to have proven yourself for several decades before you're given the duty of Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. Anyway, this little gal took over the process and made 20 pounds of potatoes using only a tablespoon of butter and a little more salt. (I don't know if you're familiar with proper mashed-potato-making technique, but there should be significantly larger portions of both.) To top it off, this niece added ungodly amounts of garlic (about 15-20 cloves). No one was eating the potatoes and it was becoming quite a fiasco, so our friend went in the kitchen when no one else was around and started dumping various redemptive ingredients into the potatoes; eventually they all disappeared. (Yes, it conjured images of Remy in Ratatouille, jumping over a soup pot.) Speaking of soup, they then told us about some soup their dad had decided to prepare that was supposedly good for keeping various ailments away (and most humans, I'm sure); it included 8 whole heads of garlic in it. They said, "We literally didn't get a cold for two years." I'm not sure it was worth the trade-off. :D
So we had fun with them last night. This morning I was finishing up a few applications for work with the school district, and about when I was getting ready to leave to drop them off at the District office, I heard mom ask, "Is there an 'e' in 'impart'?" I told her that I'd never seen the word impart spelled with an e, and she said, "It's spelled that way on your application."
Arghhh. Thank goodness for computerized applications. After a reprint or two, we left for the DO; on the way I was reading aloud to mom/Emily from "To Kill A Mockingbird" in that section where Mrs. Dubose is railing those dreadful accusations at the kids and Atticus shows them a different side of her than the side they'd grown to hate. It was nice. After that we ended up at a property we own on the outskirts of town; there was a fire last week and mom was fairly sure it had burned some of our property. Sure enough, it turns out that most of the fire had actually been squarely on our property, and that our property had been a staging grounds for fire personnel while they were fighting the flames. Whoops. (There were no buildings on it so it didn't bring about significant damage.)
After that we went to the store, where I stayed in the car with Whitney and Mally, who were sleeping. I had the sliding van door open, as well as the windows, so we could actually get some air (it's a hot day) and got quite a few very curious stares from people who would pull into the space next to me. Oh, well.
That's a short summary of what's been going on. Pardon me while I go put away groceries....