What’s for supper? Vol. 342: Sandwiches! Sandwiches! Barely even human

Happy Friday! Full disclosure, this is the second time I’ve used this title. I was pretty sure I had used it before, so I Googled it, and sure enough: Vol. 183, and it was August 30. So that makes me feel a little better about having served sandwiches all week long this week. This is clearly the time of year when that’s just the thing to do. 

The funny thing is, I didn’t even notice that’s what I was doing until about Thursday. This is partially because my beloved menu blackboard kicked the bucket

I knew it was useful, but I didn’t realize until it was gone that I consult that thing about forty times a day, because if you know what’s for supper, at least you know one damn thing. 

Anyway, I finally got around to making a replacement. I bought some finished wooden planks already stuck together and mounted with a little hook in back at Walmart for like $4, and then I added a line and the names of the week with hot glue.

Here I would like to point out that I could find two hot glue guns. One was full sized, and the part where the glue goes in was misaligned so it doesn’t actually heat up; and one was mini and low temp, and the trigger was broken, so you have to continually push on the end of the glue stick to feed it into the gun. Also I have a chronic hand tremor that gets worse when I try to concentrate. I was aiming for “basically legible,” and I think I nailed it. 

So I went outside with this marvelous piece and a can of chalkboard spray paint, and when I started spraying, the ducks all came over to see what I was doing. I can tell who is EJ and who is Coin, but Fay and Ray are indistinguishable to me, and there I was with a full can of spray paint. I was tempted for a minute, but I pulled myself together, because sometimes you have to remind yourself that you’re at least theoretically smarter than a duck and you should act accordingly. 

I let the thing dry in the sun for a while, peeled the hot glue off, and here it is:

Perfectly fine. I touched up the thready parts with chalk, and it seems to work just as I hoped. The chalk does not wipe away easily with a fingertip, like it would with a slate blackboard, but you can wipe it away with a damp cloth. 

Oh, the “+cheese” is not a blessing from His Eminence, Bishop Cheese. It’s a nod to the time I got to the supermarket and discovered that Damien had added “and cheese” to every single item on my list. Makes me laugh every time I think of it. Marriage is about communication! And cheese!

Okay, so here’s the sandwiches we ate this week:

Buffalo chicken wraps

Damien and I did a quick getaway on Friday night, and got home Saturday pretty zonked, so I just did a quick shopping for just one meal. Flour tortillas, buffalo chicken (from frozen), spinach or maybe lettuce, shredded pepper jack cheese, and I think ranch dressing. 

Frozen buffalo chicken is always about 40% more expensive than it should be (it’s just chicken tenders sloshed around in hot sauce), but I bit the bullet and got three bags, and it was a nice easy meal. 

The little trip we went on was so nice! We rented a spot through HipCamp, which is like AirBnB just for camping, but by “camping” they mean everything from a spot to pitch your tent, to an RV, to a cabin, to a yurt, to what we got, which was a tent with beds in it on a platform, with a kitchenette, camp toilet and camp shower, and a little yard with a hammock and outdoor couch under a tarp with string lights, etc. 

Here is my view from the hammock on Friday evening, where I lounged under mosquito netting while Damien prepared dinner:

And here is the dinner he made:

Baguettes and garlic butter, strawberries and cheeses, and some truly excellent grilled steaks. He also got gelato, but we were too full to eat it. 

And here I am lounging some more the next day:

trying to figure out what bird it was that I heard at 5 a.m. in the yard. Pretty sure it was some kind of owl. (If it had been saying “who cooks for you?” I would have known it was an owl, and I would have said “my husband!” but it was just going “Ohhhhhhhhh!” in a tragic way; but I think it was still an owl.)

Anyway, this stay was cheaper than a cheap hotel and I loved it. Gonna be obnoxious and mention that you can get $10 off your next HipCamp stay, and I will also earn a $10 credit, if you use this code: 


OR, if you want to become a host on your own land through HipCamp, use that same code and we both get $100 cash after you host your first guests.

We (okay I) briefly considered the fact that we Fisher own land, a full 1.25 acres of really quite beautiful property and could probably . . . . . . . . 

. . . . . . mmmm, nah. 

Anyway, we packed up our stuff (and checkout was at NOON, which felt quite luxurious) and drove to Spofford Lake, which has a tiny little island in it, which is NH’s smallest state park.

We paddled over in our kayaks and landed, walked all the way around the island and checked out its mushrooms and such, and then paddled back under a blue, blue, blue sky, and then drove to a place we’ve been driving past for decades, but never stopped into: Stuart and John’s Sugar House in Westmoreland. Damien and I are not big breakfast people these days, but we decided to go ahead and carb it up, so he had pancakes and I had waffles, and they were great. This place also has a dairy farm and a sunflower farm. We’re gonna go back on Labor Day weekend with the kids (the island and the farm). Just overall a lovely little time away. (More pictures here if you want to take a look.)

Oh, this is my pitch for you to look on Craigslist or FB marketplace for a kayak or two! If you live anywhere near a body of water, a kayak is a wonderful thing to have. You can definitely get better at using a kayak, but you can be competent at kayaking in about three minutes. It’s much easier than canoeing, and people are selling kayaks for about $100 all the time, at least around here. You don’t have to do anything in a kayak. Just get out on the water and bob around for a while, and then go home again. I got the book Quiet Water for NH and VT, but there are several editions for different regions, and will tell you where to go for easy kayak and canoe trips. Good stuff. 

Saturday I also started this stupid pie that I saw a recipe for and decided I needed to make, for some reason. More about that in a bit. 

Sandwiches and strawberry pretzel icebox pie

Sunday was the last day when everyone was on vacation. Some kids started school on Monday, some started Tuesday, and some started Wednesday, and I had been promising Benny we would do the “stay at the beach as long as you want and eat a meal and a lot of candy there” thing, so Sunday was our last possible day. And we did it! 

First of course we went to Mass, and I had to go do the rest of the shopping, and it rained the first part of the day, but then the sun came out and we got there. 

“As long as they wanted” turned out to be about three hours. We had chips and sandwiches, soda and of course candy. 

And that was summer vacation. Fastest one ever, oh me oh my.

Oh, so when we got home we had this strawberry pretzel icebox pie. I’m only linking to it so you can know what recipe not to make. It was fine, and everybody liked it, it turns out I, a New England innocent, got suckered into making some insanely fancy-pants, labor intensive version of what is supposed to be a simple, quick, Midwestern potluck recipe you can throw together in a few minutes. 

Here I am, ladling unflavored gelatin mixed with fresh strawberry puree over strawberry slices arranged on a layer of cream cheese and whipped heavy cream, which rests on a crust made of pretzels, butter, malted milk powder, and brown sugar.

It has you putting things in and out of the oven and in and out of the freezer more than once. Like I said, it was good, but in retrospect, you can get nearly the same effect with Kool Whip, strawberry Jello, and pretzels. 

Also, I effed up the crust, because I was low on a few ingredients and had to make a 1.5X recipe, rather than a double recipe, and guess what happens when I try to do that in my head when I’m still exhausted from camping and kayaking and going to the beach! You are correct, I eff up the crust. Oh well! Everyone liked it. 

Chicken caprese burgers and corn on the cob

Nothing to report. 

I knew people were going to be a little down about school starting, so my goal was to make popular meals all week. 

Monday was just the first day for the two Catholic high school kids, and Benny and Corrie were still off; so we fulfilled another summer promise: BARBIE MOVIE. It was pretty good. I felt they could have easily cut 25 minutes out and ditched the narrator and it would have been stronger, but I liked it fine. The kids liked it. That’s my entire review. 

Steak and cheese subs, store brand Funyuns

Tuesday was the first day for the public school high schooler, and for the college guy (he is commuting, and living at home this year to save money). I also had my echocardiogram, finally, basically just to check all the boxes, even though most of my symptoms have passed by now. I think I had . . . secret Covid + unmanaged high blood pressure + anxiety + ???. But my heart looks fine! And it was super fun to watch it popping away like a little teapot for half an hour on the screen while the tech checked everything out. I guess your heart actually has its own internal pacemaker, and actually makes itself beat, which is exactly what it looks like it’s doing.  It was lovely to see.  Good old heart. You love to see something just . . . doing what it’s made to do. 

Anyway, I celebrated with steak and cheese.

I had an big old eye round roast, which I sliced thinly and pan fried in oil with salt and pepper, along with sliced bell peppers and onions. 

I toasted the roll lightly, then spread it with mayo, then piled on the meat and veggies, and then put some American cheese on top and toasted it again. Freaking delicious. 

Vermonter sandwiches, watermelon

Wednesday the final two kids started school, and we had yet another sandwich: The much-appreciated Vermonter, which is roast chicken (or turkey), bacon, green apple slices, sharp cheddar, and honey mustard on sourdough (or ciabatta). 

I have tried various methods for cutting up a large number of apples for this ssandwich, and there’s no good way of doing it quickly. I have one of those hand-cranked apple peeler-cutter-corer things,

which definitely makes it go fast, and it’s great for pies or cobbler, but it cuts the apples thinner than I want for this sandwich, and it peels them, and for this I prefer the peels on. I have used a pineapple cutting device, but apples are so small that by the time you get it situated and turn the crank, you’re through and need to set up the next one, so it doesn’t save you much work. So I just sliced the apples up and then cut the core bits out with a sharp knife, feeling very put-upon the whole time, even though, like most things in my life, it was my idea.

(I kept them from getting brown before dinner time by putting them in water with a little lime juice sloshed in.) 

We were supposed to have broccoli on the side, but it had gone bad, so I cut up a watermelon.  

Just an excellent sandwich.

Chicken, spinach, jalapeño quesadillas, chips and salsa

On Thursday, the novelty of school had worn off and certain people decided that getting up in the morning two days in a row was absolute bullshit and they just didn’t want to do it. (I am not talking about myself here. I knew it was bullshit from day one.) Nevertheless, we got there on time (we make five stops in the morning this year! Five!!!!) and nobody died.

I had a little extra time (by which I mean I was avoiding writing), so I pan-fried the chicken thighs in oil with lots of Tajin seasoning

and then shredded them. 

I asked Corrie to be the waitress and take orders for dinner,

and this was when the penny dropped that the German word for cheese (Käse) is basically the same as the Spanish word (queso).  I don’t know why I found that so amazing, but I guess I just never thought about it before. 

(“Kasadea” is presumably Esperanto, but it gets the job done.)

Oh, here is my quesadilla:

Not strictly a sandwich, but not entirely not, either. 

Bagel, egg, and cheese sandwiches

This was the plan, but one of my kids now works at the co-op, and she tipped me off that oysters are going to be 99 cents today, AND I happened to spill a can of seltzer directly into my purse (uhhhh some time ago, which is why the check I paid for lunch pizza with smelled kinda funky, sorry Nicole) and finally got around to cleaning it out last night, and I found a gift card to the co-op! So I think we are having bagel sandwiches for those who don’t like oysters, and then oysters and whatever else is on sale at the co-op for those who do. 

In other news, ladies, if you have been taking 200 mg of progesterone two weeks out of the month to help even out your mood swings with PMS, and you feel like it’s probably not doing that much, and you forget to take them, and then you suddenly decide that you built this patio with your own two hands so you could sit in the SUN and whose idea was it to have this FREAKNG AWNING UP ALL SUMMER, and you do this?

Maybe take your progesterone. It may be helping more than you realize.

P.S. Having an awning up was my idea. 

P.P.S. I also take Prozac, but it turns out Prozac + progesterone is the magic combination. Just telling you in case you, too, have been a little rampagy. I also decided Old Crow Medicine Show should be deported, and absolutely refused to compost anything this week. Also spilled some coffee and just kept walking. Insanely rebellious behavior, out of control. Somebody make me a sandwich. 

What’s for supper? Vol. 90: We put the “amp” in camping

Hoop de doo! Here we go.

Meatball subs, fruit

On Saturday, armed with only a sledgehammer, a reciprocating saw, and a thirteen-year-old boy, my husband built a new floor for our gutted murderboat, tentatively named “The No Regerts.”

Still ahead: sealing the wood and dragging it down to the stream. I SAID NO REGERTS. So I thought we could all use a hearty meal.


Beef cabbage stir fry, rice, roasted rustlebutts

Here’s a nice recipe from Budget Bytes I make every six weeks or so. It’s easy and tasty and pretty cheap, and you can easily adjust how sweet or spicy it turns out.

Brussels sprouts were very cheap, so I got a ton and cut them in half and spread them on one of my fabulous new giant pans with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and just roasted ’em up under the broiler.

Corrie recoiled in horror and angrily refused . . . RUSTLE-BUTTS. So let it be written.

By the way, the best purchase I’ve made in a long time those two 15″ x 21″ baking sheets (affiliate link). I measured my oven and bought the biggest pans that would fit, and they make life so much easier. You can just cook everything up all at once, rather than trying to Tetris various small pans in there. They also double as serving trays for parties, and are useful for moving board games intact when we need the table.


MONDAY: Camping, day 1
We packed ever so slowly, and then had to go to urgent care for an ear infection, and had to stop to tighten the canoe that wanted very much to become a wild, wild canoe that hops on the nearest jet stream and resettles in Canada, so we didn’t get to the campgrounds until late, and then it turned out the lake was closed because of bacteria.

HOWEVER, the yurts were still airy and cool, and dinner was pork spiedies, watermelon, and Pringles, with S’mores for dessert. The spiedies were insanely delicious.


even though I forgot to pack tongs, and Mr. Husband had to make ridiculous BBQ chopsticks with a hair rubber band

I had made the meat at home the night before and packed it in ziplock bags along with the marinade, which leaked all over the inside of the cooler. I also forgot soap.

Faced with these realities, I decided pretty early on that I was going to take a three-day break from believing in cooties, and so what if the baby wanted to paddle around in the puddle under the spigot where I washed not only the pork juice with no soap but also her poopy bathing suit? I don’t want to hop on a jet stream and resettle in Canada! Not at all. Hey look, a yurt! So airy and cool.

I actually spent most of my time putting my feet up and complaining, while my husband made fires, told ghost stories, read Treasure Island to the kids, and grabbed flying children out of mid-air before they burned or impaled themselves.

Oh, and we took turns being fruit ninjas.

and I did get some rare photographic evidence that Corrie’s brain is, indeed, on fire.


TUESDAY: Camping, day 2
The kids had their hearts set on roasted apples for breakfast, but they ate most of the apples on day 1, so with a heavy heart I threw a box of Honey Buns at them while Damien went to Dunkin’ Donuts and got us coffees. Just kidding about the heavy heart part. Whatever it was in me that once relished the idea of waking up early and building a fire before breakfast, it’s dead now.

Lunch was sandwiches and cookies on the beach (a different beach, without water cooties), where we swam in the rain. Then the sun came out, so we bought a ton of candy and went to see Wonder Woman. Look, I never said we were good at camping.

Dinner was walking tacos, which taste so much better than is reasonable. I cooked ground beef and seasoned it at home, and we heated it up over our lovely propane stove. Each person got a personal little bag of Doritos, into which went meat, shredded cheese, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and salsa.

We also had grilled corn on the cob. You cook it in the husk over the coals until the husks are blackened, and it comes out so sweet.

For dessert, I couldn’t resist these cute Little Debbie brownies with animal tracks in them.

WEDNESDAY: Camping, day 3
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bagels, hot chocolate with rainbow marshmallows!!!!
Next time, I’ll remember to pack a real pan. And butter. And a decent cooking utensil. I did, however, remember the salt!

Never, ever forget the salt.

Lunch: Candy.
I would say we had something else, but really we basically had candy. And then we went home. Some more more pleased about this than others.


Supper (at home): Bagel, egg, ham and cheese sandwiches. I had to run to the convenience store for more eggs, and since I was already conveniently paying top dollar, I ponied up a little bit more for local eggs. This is one “fresh, local, organic” food that truly lives up to the hype. The yolks are darker and more flavorful, the whites are fluffier and lighter, and it’s very charming to see how many different egg sizes find themselves together in one box.

But lorramercy

I feel like they could wash them.

We’re home again. Cooties are real.


Pork ramen, broccoli

On Thursday, my true love took the sledgehammer we found in the murderboat and smashed up my kitchen, just liked I’ve been asking him to do.

So I made dinner on a dining room chair.

I browned up some sliced garlic in olive oil using the saute function of the Instant Pot, then browned up a bunch of pork ribs. I took them out and sliced them, sauteed them some more, then took them out again. In the same pot, I hard boiled a bunch of eggs, then took them out, peeled and halved them. Then I added water and scraped up all the yumminess that was in the bottom of the pot, and cooked ramen noodles in it with the flavor packets, then added the pork and some chopped spinach. I served the noodles and pork with the eggs, some scallions, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and crunchy noodles on top.

Not an especially sophisticated or complex taste, but it was fine and filling. And I cooked it all on a chair! And that’s why people love the Instant Pot.


French toast casserole, I guess? I think Damien and I are going out for pizza. A full week of family togetherness is about enough for now.

Seven Quick Takes: In Which Benny Meets Her Match


And we’re home from camping!  Or, “camping.” Whatever, you tent-loving masochists. It was rustic enough for me. Nobody fell in the fire, nobody got permanently lost, nobody drowned, nobody got carried off by wildlife, we didn’t need to test whether our insurance covered out-of-state ER visits, and nobody even pulled anybody’s hair until we were – get this – two minutes away from reaching home. We managed to stretch a three-hour road trip into five hours, but we made it.

And guess what? I didn’t take a single photo! My husband took a few, but I haven’t seen them yet. There was just too much water and sand and dirt and moving around to mess with cameras much.

Here’s my seven wordy takes on our trip:



The happiest memories of my childhood are memories of the ocean, so I was absolutely ravenous for my kids to have the same experience. And they did! Miles and miles of sparkling blue ocean with waves big enough to toss you around; a buffeting breeze, thieving seagulls that made off with a whole bag of chips, the tugging of the sand away from your feet as the waves withdraw. They played and played and played, and the ocean played back, until our skin was glowing, our mouths and scalps were full of sand, our legs were like jelly, our fingers were salty and puckered, and our ears were full of the sound of the wind and the water. We staggered home completely sated.

Then, on another day, we tried another beach, closer to our campsite. I told the kids it was the same ocean, but it really wasn’t. This was the beach that made you realize why Poseidon was called “Earthshaker.” It was stifling hot, but the air was full of steam, so you could see past a few waves, and then .  . . the abyss. There could have been anything out there, or nothing. The waves slammed on the beach with a cracking sound, and every wave threw pale, scrabbling crustaceans onto the sand. There were no shells to collect — they had all been pulverized into bits by the pounding sea. The water was purplish, and it hissed. We stayed for a few hours until we were defeated, and then went home to rinse off at the campground, where the fresh pond water felt as gentle and mild as a giant cup of lukewarm tea. Whew!

So, kids, that was the ocean! Now they know.



At one point, at the nice beach, the PA system announced that a lost child was looking for his family, and I thought, “Huh, did they say ‘Eliza’ or ‘Elijah”? Oh, well.”

Then they announced that it was Elijah, and he was ten, and still unclaimed. And I thought, “Wow, I also have a son who is ten and who is named Elijah. What a coincidence! Well, it was a popular name that year.”  I felt sorry for the mom whose son was missing.

Then I wondered where my son was.  Yarr.



There is staring at a TV screen and thinking about nothing for an hour, and there is staring at a campfire and thinking about nothing for an hour.  Not the same kind of staring, and not the same kind of nothing.



PIC campfire


If you are living with nine children in what is essentially Dirtville, and are taking sojourns into Sweat-and-Gritsville, with a sidetrip into World of Soot, with occasional sorties into the Land of Grime and Itch, you may find that you want to take a shower. You may discover that the state park charges you $1.25 for five minutes of hot water. PAY IT.



We visited the Mystic Aquarium, where a “family membership” price doesn’t mean “two adults and as many as two children, if you are so gauche as to have as many as two children.” They also let you go out for lunch and come back in without paying again. And they had great fish and whatnot to look at! We got to pet sharks, and one of their three Beluga whales did something no one else could manage over the course of the whole trip: it made Benny stop shrieking for a minute. This whale was drifting back and forth in front of the glass where the dear child was having tantrum #897,932, and it was clearly watching her very closely. She didn’t like the look in its eye, and whacked the glass. It stopped right in front of her, and it tried to eat her. Or at least it popped its toothy mouth open right in front of her face.

PIC beluga mouth



And lo, there was quiet! Good one, whale.

I’ve been to aquarium shows where the creatures are impeccably trained and the trainers are unflappable, and clearly in charge. This was not one of those shows, and it was utterly charming. The sea lions mostly did what they were told, but sometimes they acted like big dumb stubborn dogs who were confident that their trainers loved them anyway. Then there was one sea lion who just refused to participate at all, because it’s mating season, and he had better things to do. That’s what I liked about this aquarium in general: they had really neat stuff to show us, but they didn’t take themselves too seriously.

They also had something I’ve never seen before: three “mermaid purses” in special display cases, so you could see the developing embryo inside.  They were about an inch across, and you could see the tail waving back and forth like a metronome, and that little shark waited and waited, just biding its time and growing. If you looked closely, you could make out one skate’s beating heart.



We saw an ice cream parlor called “Gelato Fiasco.” We did not stop there.


GIF nope nope nope octopus


I love sheets.


Happy Fourth of July to all my American friends! We’re rained out here, which means we get an extra day to unpack and desandify ourselves before our family cookout and explodyfest tomorrow. Don’t forget to check out the other Seven Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

At the Register: We Who Are About to Camp Salute You

As I write, I may have nothing packed, nothing purchased, and nothing planned, but I do have a very tidy and detailed list of the things I am sure will go wrong on our trip. They are as follows:

  • We will run out of food and we will starve, because obviously we won’t be able to get into the car and drive to a store and buy more food. This is camping, and we are going to have to make do with sand tea and acorn kabobs.
  • Sharks. Okay, there are not going to be any sharks, but I’m afraid my kids, who somehow wore us down and got to watch Jaws, are going to be so afraid of sharks that their little brains will actually explode with anxiety. And do you know who is attracted by brain matter in the water? SHARKS.
  • We will be surrounded by such awful, noisy, inconsiderate people that we won’t be able to enjoy our awful, noisy, inconsiderate family.

Read the rest at The Register.