Friday, August 23, 2013

A St. Louis Take on the Chicago Hot Dog

Next week, we have a Man's Guide to Hot Dogs coming your way. Here's one of my favorite hot dog recipes to get you pumped up for that.

This is my take on the Chicago-style hot dog. If you've ever been to the Windy City, you've surely noticed the ubiquitous presence of this culinary delight.

This thing is quite the upgrade from your typical hot dog. It can be a bit challenging to eat one of these. Don't worry, if you can handle a burrito from Qdoba or a decked out sub sandwich, you'll manage.

My version doesn't include a poppy-seed bun, relish, sport peppers or celery salt. But, it has the rest of the garden goodies.

I also grill my dogs, rather than boil them. I prefer a crispy casing.

So, grab a pack of your favorite hot dogs (don't worry, we'll tell you what you should be buying next week). Grill em, boil em, microwave em, drop em on the dash on a sunny day ... warm them up somehow.

For your toppings, slice a pickle and carve some wedges out of a tomato. You'll also need to finely chop an onion. (I prefer the Vidalia onion's mellow taste.)

Place the wiener on the bun, and arrange the tomato to one side with the pickle on the other side. Drop the onion down the middle and put some strips of mustard on that bad boy.

Ketchup is pretty much the only thing you're not supposed to put on a hot dog. But, my wife likes to live dangerously, so do whatever makes you happy.

Like I said, for a true Chicago dog, add sport peppers, relish and hit it with a sprinkle of celery salt. It's really an ingenious way to get a serving of veggies in with your tubular meat. Props to our northern neighbors for thinking this thing up.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Gold Stars in Heaven

This weekend, due to circumstances beyond my control, we got some new roommates when 4 of my nieces and nephews moved in to our house.

This has led to some lifestyle changes. For one, we need to be more organized.

Not to mention the fact that this army marches on its stomach. These eight sandwiches, 6 mugs of soup, and several pounds of vegetation are now a lunch. For around half the people in our house. Seriously.

Fortunately the new kids are great. The oldest one even has OCD so he likes to help clean. But it's still obviously a lot. I can't decide if I'd rather be Dick Van Patton or funny Rick Majerus.

My biggest concern at present? When hearing about this new lot, everyone mentions that Becca and I have some how earned a reward in heaven. I'm just hoping this isn't going to send me upstairs sooner than I'm ready.

In the meantime, where did that whole bottle of wine suddenly go?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Stuck in My Own Seinfeld Episode

Remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry is convinced his dry cleaner is wearing his clothes? 

Well, I have a strong suspicion that one of my suits has mysteriously disappeared at the hands of an unscrupulous dry cleaner. Allow me to explain.

Two weeks ago, my closet revealed it was minus one suit. Since I only own(ed) two, that's a 50% reduction in suitage.

I own a black suit and a gray suit. The gray suit is the one that's currently MIA.

Upon my closet's revelation, I backtracked to the local dry cleaner. According to their records, I last dropped off a suit on February. Since I failed to pick it up within the 90-day period, they got rid of it. (They didn't say if they sold it, took it home or donated it.)

That sounded fishy. I pulled up some work photos, and sure enough, there I am wearing the missing suit on March 13 of this year.
Here I am wearing the gray suit on March 13, 2013. That's my boss, Frank Holdmeyer, on the left. Based on his facial expression, I can tell he's thinking, "That is one good-looking suit."
So, what's with the February claim? Either way, I was over the 90-day time frame.

Digging further in the closet, I noticed the lone black suit still had the claim tag on it. Same cleaner, but it was dated February 2012. A call to the cleaner revealed the records indeed show a drop off on February 2012.

My wife and I called several other cleaners in the area. No one has a record of me dropping off the gray suit.

That's when my wife developed her own theory -- I left the suit in the hotel. It's a good theory. Over the years, I've forgotten a pair of flip flops, an iPad charger, contact lens cleaner and a shirt or two.

Nay, I said. Not this time.

We scoured every closet in the house. Nothing. So, where is my lonely charcoal suit? Good question.

I maintain the cleaners liked what they saw and made it their very own. My wife says there's a 50/50 chance I left it in a hotel room. Either way, it looks like suit shopping is in my near future.

Oh, one more thing. This was a $100 suit separate special at Kohl's. So, it's not like I've lost a $1,000 Armani gem. But, still, for a man who only owns two suits, it's devastating. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Nesting... Again

There are no shortage of children around the hallowed halls of the SFA. Among the 3 of us we have approximately 35 kids. Well, at times it feels like that. However you do the math, it makes for some great stories and some 180+ blog posts. This will not be a great story, but more of a brain dump on what happens to me when we are getting close to baby time.
Gonna need a wider lens for another kid.
So this will be my fourth and final kid. I've paid good money to a doctor to make sure of that. There's a lot going on around the house these days. We closed on our new house in January and we found out we were pregnant 2 days prior to closing. Since then its been a whirlwind of unpacking boxes and getting settled into the new house. What we didn't realize or even think about when moving in was that the two oldest (both girls) were going to room together and would need a larger room to fit all their clothes, beds, and emotions. So, instead of the typical "lets get the baby's room ready" it has turned into "lets move everyone's bedroom to accommodate the small pink room for the baby". So instead of 1 room to get ready, we've had 3 (we had to move my son out of his room). At least we are having a girl and the girls' room was pink to begin with. Hooray for no painting.
Seems quiet... Too quiet.

Clothing and everything else baby... When we had our 3rd kid almost 2 years ago, we were done. No mas. So we did what every other couple would do, give everything away. All the standard baby stuff was not needed anymore: Changing table, High Chair, shoes the size of my ear... All gone. So there was a small freak out session of not knowing where the F we would get all this stuff. We really weren't up on the idea of buying all new baby stuff. Luckily we have been showered with people's leftovers. You know the people that said they were done with kids and actually meant it???? We have been very blessed to have almost 2 of everything now and we have to kind of turn stuff away. So, with this influx of new stuff, it adds some additional stress of "where are we gonna put it all?" This is slowly becoming a non-stress issue, but I am sure we are missing stuff. Like Diapers. We need small diapers!!! Damn it. I'll go to the store this week and get some.

Finally there's me. I usually do something kind of stupid and pointless before a child is born. I am waiting for it to happen. Usually it involves me, booze, a late night, and a bad decision to gamble or almost get my ear cut off . However, I think I have it mitigated that this time. I signed up for my first Olympic distance Triathlon. So, I've always been a runner and last year, I did my first Tri. It was fun. I did one earlier this year but the distance was pretty short. This will be a large test of energy to finish. So hopefully this goal will keep me from doing stupid stuff from here on in.

What I am still amazed with every time we have a baby is how my wife deals with it. The physical stress it has to put on the body is remarkable and how she hasn't disowned me with the first 3 is beyond comprehension.

Oh its a girl. BTW.