What’s for supper? Vol. 298: Pack of goons

It’s summer! Today is officially the first full day of summer vacation. The feeling I felt when I turned off the alarm before going to bed last night . . . well, it was a good feeling. 

We had a pretty hectic (although not as hectic as last week, which was HECCIN hectic) final week of school, with a field day, a birthday party invite, a trip to Six Flags, a graduation, and then a half day with a beach trip, so if you’re looking for elaborate recipes, turn back! We had a few decent warm-weather meals, though. Here’s what we had:


Damien took the kids to a colleague summer league baseball game

where I believe they had burgers, fries, popcorn, and Crackerjacks (not to mention balloon animals, glitter tattoos, slime with little treasures in it, pencils, stickers, and so on!).  Everyone at home (including me) just scrounged for dinner. I think I had restaurant leftovers. And very good they are, restaurant leftovers.


I spent most of Sunday decolonizing the front yard. There are two or three rhododendrons that have slowly been getting swallowed up by invasive oriental bittersweet, and I worry about it every time I see it, which is 426 times a day. So I finally snipped and chopped and dug and tore it all up, and the paid the girls to carry it all away on tarps and dump it in a part of the property I don’t care about. Gonna have to do it all again in a month or so, but the rhododendrons are looking around blearily, blinking in the sunlight, straightening their backs, and even gingerly putting out some new leaves at this late date, so I feel pretty good. 

Damien made some gorgeous pizzas while I worked. One pepperoni, one olive, one sausage and mushroom

and one fennel, onion, feta, and anchovy

If I remember correctly. Magnificent.

Strawberry chicken salad

One of my favorites. I broiled the chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then cut it in to chunks. Served over mixed greens with toasted almonds, feta cheese, diced red onion, and sliced strawberries. 

I bought a special strawberry poppyseed dressing, but nobody could open the bottle, so I just had wine vinegar. 

Chicken “enchilada” “bowls”

Some people start out with a vague idea for a meal and then, under the wizardry of their expert, uh, spatula, it blossoms into something ingeniously delectable. (I deliberately said “blossoms” even though we’re talking about food because that’s just how magical these people are.)
I, on the other hand, groaningly open up the supermarket website, see that chicken is on sale, and say to myself, “So . . . I guess. . . chicken, um, um, um . . . .chicken enchiladuuuuuhhhhhhhh . . .. . uh, chicken enchilada BOWL!” And I write that down, because it sounds like a thing. 

Then actual dinner time comes around, and I have nooo idea. I ended up de-boning some chicken breast and pan frying it in olive oil with lots of chili powder, cumin, and salt, and then kind of squonching it with a wooden spoon. So far so good. Then I diced up a shit ton of onions and fried them in the chicken pan. Also fine.

Then I got involved in this project where I am attaching hardware cloth to the inside of a garbage enclosure I built out of pallets to keep the raccoons away, and I was getting all sweaty, and there were a lot of flies, and I ran out of nails, and some of that wood is really hard, and I was thinking about the price of heating oil, and how my metabolism is changing, and other cheerful thoughts, and next thing you know, it was after 5:00. So I zip-zip made a pot of rice, re-heated the chicken and onions, opened up a couple of cans of tomatoes, found some sour cream that wasn’t frozen, dug out some bags of shredded cheese, chopped up some cilantro, and hurled it all in the direction of the dining room table.

It was then that I realized I had never even taken the cans of enchilada sauce out of the cabinet, much less combined the sauce with the chicken in any way. Hence: “enchilada” “bowls.”

My husband complimented this meal so repeatedly and earnestly that I’m afraid it must have been pretty bad. I was hungry, though (see: garbage enclosure raccoon pallets hammering), so it was fine. Kinda salty, though. 

8th grade graduation!

Kids at home had chicken nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs, and Damien and Lucy and I went to her 8th grade graduation, and then to Local Burger

which is as advertised. They certainly give you plenty of fries. We ate outside and saw a pretty good dog show on the sidewalk.

We also had ice cream at a place I suggested, which I variously called Boondoggle’s, Hasenpfeffer’s,  Hammacher Schlemmer, and Hamantaschen before they acknowledged they knew I was talking about Humdinger’s. I guess Boondoggle’s was semantically the closest, but it wasn’t very close. I think all ice cream places should just be called “That Ice Cream Place, You Know, The One With the Wooden Horse” or “That Ice Cream Place Where We Hit That Crazy Lady’s Car.” Just for clarity. My brain is not getting any more elastic, here. 

And so now we have SEVEN children who are high school aged or higher. Good grief.  When Irene was five, she told me, “You know, you go into my kindergarten cwass and fink, ‘What a wovewy bunch of kids.’ But you get to know them better, and they’re just a big pack of goons.”

I think about that a lot. Just a big pack of goons, all the way down. 

Burgers, chips, carrots

Damien took the pack of goons to the beach and then made supper.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t even figure out how to make the photo above into a gif without exceeding the upload size of this site. I honestly don’t even know what it is I do around here. Just look pretty, I guess. 


Damien is making supper. I must go curl my eyelashes now. 

Oh, speaking of pretty, here’s one final photo from that awards dinner last week. Don’t we look nice? That’s because we are nice! For a couple of goons. 

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8 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 298: Pack of goons”

  1. I couldn’t help but giggle from the title. In Australia, “goon” is the colloquial term for the foil bag that contains cask wine in a box. The preferred beverage of alcoholics, teenagers, festival goers and grey-haired caravaners. Cask wine is also an Australian invention too, your welcome world.

    It is an unfortunate rite of passage in Australia to play “wheel of goon” as a 18 year old where you tie a sack of goon to your Mum’s hills hoist clothesline and spin it around and if the bag lands on you you have to drink the lot. Other versions involve trying to drink out of the goon sack whilst it’s spinning until someone falls over and throws up or breaks a bone or your mums favourite azalea bush.

    So this made me laugh. “Pack of goons” holds an even deeper truth down here than you’re Irene could ever know.

    1. I BELIEVE you, but I also believe that there is a thriving industry of people making up crazy stuff that happens in Australia.

      1. You’re not wrong, Simcha. I wish I was making this up. My sister in law actually broke her arm playing the stupider version of wheel of goon at her cousin’s 18th.

        It is thankfully a fading tradition thanks to the advancement of the internet and its ability to preserve youthful stupidity forever and ever. That and there are fewer and fewer hills hoist clotheslines around these days.

  2. Very nice picture of you two, and very nice picture of your daughter – best wishes to her in high school! A day at a time and one day the scales tip and they’re not little kids anymore, although when you’re in it you can’t imagine things will ever be different. Found out yesterday from a comment on another post that your sister used to live in Ann Arbor, where my daughter now lives, giving me a bit of that small world syndrome feeling. We didn’t have chicken nuggets – we had “chicken things,” which was my generic name for any kind of pre-shaped chicken patty/nugget-type thing. And we had chicken things alllll the time.

  3. Looks like you had a yummy week!

    And yes, you and your husband *do* look nice! Happy summer!

  4. You look lovely! I think it’s admirable you even try to make fancy things when you’re so busy. My kids lived on dino nuggets and frozen pizza for years. And they’re turning out ok. Mostly. Things have since calmed down now that all but two of the kids are old enough to drive so I cook a lot more than I used to but my lousy kids were just as happy with the frozen dinos.

    Funny you mention about not knowing the name of the ice cream store. Many few years ago, a frozen yogurt place opened up on our corner. I was fine with any of the kids walking down to the corner stores so long as they told me and there was at least one 10+ year old with them. One very hot day, the kids were all begging for Rita’s (water ice). Rita’s is not walkable for us – that meant I would have had to get in the steamy sticky car only to stand outside in some hot sweaty line, so I wearily said, “Can’t you just walk down to ‘Top of the Yogurt?'” My kids thought it was the funniest thing I ever said. “Hahahhah! Can you believe Mom called it Top of the Yogurt??? ” Sometimes they would test me, “Hey mom, what’s the name of the fro-yo shop on the corner?” I had no idea but I always managed to remember my own name for it so I’d enjoy their howls of laughter while I said it. COVID killed the shop but my whole family still mourns the loss of Top of the Yogurt.

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