Thursday, February 11, 2016

gimme all the maple bacon

disclaimer:  i received a gift card from mcdonald's to use for the purpose of this review/post.

so my friends over at mcdonald's contacted me awhile ago to see if i was interested in trying out their new taste crafted menu.  i love mickey d's, so it was a no-brainer.  i'd heard about it just from their PR blitz on the radio and in tv commercials, so i was somewhat familiar with the new concept.  basically, you can create your own sandwich from the various choices they're offering for buns, meat, and condiments:


what i didn't know was that they were also adding table service to their walk-in diners.  so you can walk in, place your order at the counter, and then go have a seat and wait for one of their employees to bring it to you.  i'm not entirely sure if this adds tipping to the mcdonald's dynamic, but i guess tips are always appropriate whenever service is particularly good.

with cookie season in full swing, it gets hard to make time to do dinner at home.  i mean, sure, i've got that nifty new instant pot (which i'm using all the time, by the way), but some nights i'm just done and the last thing i want to do is stand in the kitchen and make food.  we had one of those evenings last week when it was just me and the bean, and so it was the perfect time for us to visit our local mcdonald's and give it a try.  plus, it helps that it has one of the nicer, cleaner play places and so we invited my co-leader and her two kids to join us for a quick dinner out.

i whipped out my arch card to place our order:


and noticed a different graphic for the taste crafted menu placed conveniently on the counter.


i totally forgot about the table service deal and waited at the counter for our food to be ready.  oops.  old habits die hard, you know.

the bean wasn't having any of that fancy stuff, though.  she opted for her tried-and-true (well, one of them, anyway) - the filet o'fish.


but i'd opted for the maple bacon dijon with grilled chicken on an artisan roll.  i'm not usually a dijon fan, but i decided to step outside of my comfort zone and give it a shot.


it looked pretty good - especially for what you typically expect to see from mcdonald's.  and i'm happy to report that it tasted as good as it looked.  the roll was chewy and delicious, the chicken was tender and perfectly cooked, the veggies were fresh, and that mild dijon sauce added some great flavor to the sandwich.  and, well, duh - maple-smoked bacon.  need i say more?  i mean...it's bacon.  mmmmm.

being mcdonald's, it wasn't super pricey, and after grabbing a snack-sized mcflurry for the bean's dessert i'd spent well under $20 on dinner.

so i'm not saying this just because we enjoyed free mcdonald's food, but really - the taste crafted menu is definitely worth a shot.  i want to go back and try that buffalo bacon with the grilled chicken on a soft potato roll next time.

what sort of concoction would you like to try from the new taste crafted menu?  comment below with your top pic and my friend random.com and i will pick a couple of folks to receive an arch card so you can go in and give it a whirl.

you can enter a couple of different ways - leave me a comment below (make sure you give me a way to reach you!).  or head over to twitter and tweet a link to this post, tagging me (@luvbabyb) in your tweet.  then come back and leave a second comment telling me you tweeted.  make sure you do it by monday (february 15th) at 5:00pm PST - i'll post the winners the next day.

oh - sorry, international friends...US only.  don't hate me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

there's absolutely nothing going on

you guys...i don't have anything to blog about.

no, i mean, i honestly don't have anything going on in my life right now besides cookies.  oh hey, i got a fun new t-shirt at the girl scout store:


yaaaaaaay.  it's now in my rotation for when i'm helping out at the cookie booths.  for now, this is my life on what seems like practically every stinking day:


at least i have super cute co-workers.


and we're all waiting anxiously for rain to come back, because if we work a booth when it's wet outside the girls will earn this cool patch:

but besides cookies...um...well, i got my eyes checked for the first time in like a decade.


i'm happy to report that i still have 20/20 vision!  lasik done me good.  although i have to cave and pick up a pair of very low prescription readers.  my old ass is noticing that i'm having to do that old lady squint-and-pull-back move when reading smaller print these days.  blech.

i turned out a few tails for some friends:




uhhhh...i bought new bedding for the guest bedroom?


ooh!  i finally busted out my tinkerbell shoes that i bought at last year's half.  they're really cute, with lots of little details like this:


and i picked up the molten chocolate latte from starbucks.  it's a special valentine's week drink that'll apparently disappear after sunday.


that's about it.  like, until march 6th my life is nothing but girl scout cookies.  we're boothing in front of local grocery stores during the week and at walmart on the weekends.  my days consist of spreadsheets, counting money, running deposits to the bank, picking up more cases of cookies from the local cookie cupboard, and helping to set up/break down/keep an eye on girls at the various booths.

we better do something super fun at the end of cookie season to make it all worth it.  heh.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

i'm so gonna be the 4th dixie chick

so back in the day, when i was newly split from the old lady's dad and living out on my own, i was a huge country music fan.  of course, as is often the case with singletons (and moony-eyed teenagers, same thing right), this was influenced by a super cute guy i had a major crush on.  heh.

this was right around the same time that the dixie chicks were hitting their stride and becoming major players in the country music world.  i loved them, had their CDs playing on continuous loop in my car, what have you.  and later on, while the hub and i were dating, we got to see them live during their last three major tours.  they put on a really fun show, and i was a huge fan.

i was super excited when they announced that they were going out on tour again for the first time in, like, a decade.  as luck would have it, the show in the l.a. area is in october at one of my most favorite venues ever - the hollywood bowl.  i snagged two tickets and now i'm patiently waiting for october to get here (which it will, in no time at all).

of course, i follow the band and all 3 members on twitter.  natalie often posts funny tweets, and i've actually gotten replies from her a couple of times on comments i tweet to her.  it's always stupidly exciting when a celeb tweets you back...super lame, i know.  but still, i always think it's pretty awesome.  social media at its best, yeah?

one day while perusing my timeline, i saw this tweet from emily:


it's amazing how some people just can't let shit go, even a decade later.  i'm sure she was referring to the comment natalie made years ago while on tour, something about being ashamed that george bush was from texas (the band's home state).  you might remember the crazy backlash the band faced back then, with death threats and flag-waving former fans making bonfires with their CDs and all sorts of insanity.  anyway, i replied to emily's tweet with this:



and then i got distracted with something shiny and turned off my phone for awhile.  when i went back and looked at my twitter feed again, i was super stoked to see this:


mind you, i was all atwitter (heheheh) just at the retweet.  i brushed off the comment, not really thinking much of it...until the next day, when i saw this:


a second later, i noticed that i had a direct message.  i clicked on it and...


after trading a few more messages (plus a couple of emails), the end result is that when the hollywood bowl show gets a little closer their PR team is going to contact me to figure something out in the way of getting me backstage to meet the band.  !!!!!!!!!  they aren't technically planning any meet-and-greets during this tour, but apparently they're going to work something out for me.

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!  october can't get here soon enough!

Monday, February 8, 2016

calgon, take me away

whew, this weekend was a whirlwind.  like, we packed so much stuff into two days, it's kind of crazy.

we kicked off saturday with the bean's very first trip to the orthodontist.  the dentist was a little concerned with how her bottom front teeth are crowding, resulting in some thinning in her gums.  i mean, once you lose gums that shit doesn't grow back.  and so he sent us to see the ortho posthaste, and thank god the bean is still in that sweet baby phase where she still thinks a dental appointment is her jam.


it helps that they make it fun, too.  like, who doesn't want to watch fun movies and look at paw prints on the ceiling?  today it was "big hero 6."


then the ortho came in and took a quick peek to see what all the fuss was about.

he assigned one of his assistants to take her over for a full 360-degree x-ray, and the machine reminded me of the one i'd just visited for my mammogram.  happily, there was no pain involved with this process.  i did have to stand back for the actual x-raying though, because radiation.


then she settled back into the chair with a nice soft blanket.  it was chilly in the office, and the assistant was happy to bring her something to warm up from the stack of blankets they keep in the back.


so it seems that she needs to have a couple of bottom baby teeth pulled, some sort of orthodontic device installed behind the front teeth, and braces on top for a year.  she was so excited - again, it's cute that she's still at an age where this stuff is super cool.  like, she wanted to have those braces put on that day.  heh.  it'll take about a month, but it's coming.  that'll be interesting.

from there, she went to her saturday math and science class while i headed home to grab supplies for our first cookie booth.  we were scheduled at the local walmart for a couple of hours, and one of our parents had offered up the use of their EZ-up tent so that the girls wouldn't bake out in the sun.


the time flew by, and it was fun watching the girls do their best to hawk their wares.  in the end, they sold about a hundred boxes and had a great time doing it.  this year, my co-leader and i had scheduled plenty of parent back-up, making it extra easy for us to make sure everything was running smoothly while staying in the background.  this meant that we didn't forget to get at least one selfie.


from there, the bean went off with my co-leader's daughter to head out to rockin' jump for some playtime.  i had a little bit of downtime to kind of relax and unwind a little before heading back out to meet up with my co-leader again.  this time, it was to help her provide volunteers for the local wine walk in the downtown area.



the old lady and i were tasked with the job of sitting at the corner and making sure that no one left the area with wine in their glasses.  but because this is sleepy, conservative glendora, it was a pretty laid-back job.  in fact, i don't think we even had to tell a single person anything other than where to go for more wine.  the giant "no alcohol beyond this point" signs helped a lot too.  we ended up spending our whole shift just sitting there shooting the shit and laughing our asses off at the antics of the few animated folks who busted a move to the music and tripped over curbs and things.


my bed was extra comfy that night after all that activity.  whew.  and we still have almost an entire MONTH of cookie season left.  not to mention, the bean is about to kick off a month of fundraising for school via their annual jog-a-thon.

help me.  or just send me strength.

Friday, February 5, 2016

it's all about the cookies

i can't get away from cookies, people.  they're everywhere.

not only is an entire section of our house dedicated to them:



but i've been working on *my* cookies at the same time.




although we're making some decent progress at getting rid of the boxed, fundraising kind.  last week, we drove out to pasadena and dropped off a few orders to some friends who were nice enough to support our troop.


oh hey, did you know there's some sort of sportsball happening this weekend?  i got to work on these for a friend:



all i know is that the hub is throwing a ginormous bash at the lounge that's going to last all day and night and the bean and i will be working a cookie booth out in front of a grocery store somewhere nearby.

because at the end of the day, that's what it's all about.  cookies.  they're basically my whole life.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

i can't stop eating asian snacks.

making my lack of willpower for the clean eating challenge even worse, the addiction to japanese snacks is still in full effect.  i've hit up the asian supermarket at least two more times, and the monthly skoshboxes are total enablers.

as curious as i was about it, i did manage to say a "hell no" to this craziness.  $18 for a box of candy? that i wasn't even sure i'd like?  yikes.  what's in this stuff, gold?


although i do love that store for the giant assortment of take-home sushi they sell by the piece.  this made for quite a lovely lunch:


a lot of their products are adorned with some of my favorite characters.  of course, this makes them absolutely irresistible...regardless of what they might be.  like, this is cheese.  cheese!





i thought i loved pretty much all cheese, but this...no.  although i suppose processed-to-all-hell cheese FOOD like this doesn't count.  right?  it tasted like a very mild version of velveeta, but had a really weird mouthfeel.  it was like eating a cross between jello and play-doh.  not good.

but these were way better.  little milk-flavored pieces of taffy and a marshmallow stuffed with chocolate?  yes, please.



i finally gave in and tried one of the oreo products they had.  these were rather like a choco pie, but with a richer, darker chocolate flavor.  yummy.


and this month's skoshbox arrived, but i haven't had a chance to try much of it yet.


this is a lollipop made of chocolate, shaped like an umbrella.  now i'm ready for el niƱo!


these are little chocolate-filled crackers.  boy, skoshbox must know how much i love chocolate.


these are labeled as "savory consomme-flavored crackers."  i bet they're gonna be delicious.


grape jelly-filled marshmallows.  since i love the hello kitty strawberry version of these, i know i'll dig these.  grape is my most favorite artificial fruit flavor!


these are little chocolate-coffee drops.  again, pretty sure these will get devoured 30 seconds after the package gets ripped open.


more oreos!  since there were two of them, i decided i had to see what the "soft cookie" was all about.


and it was pretty much exactly that - a soft version of your basic oreo cookie.  super yummy, and now it's on my list for the next trip to the asian market.

my girl scout troop is going to be setting up a booth about japan at our upcoming "thinking day" event.  we get to make posters with fun facts about the country, offer a craft or activity, and set out snacks.  that last bit is gonna be alllllllll me.  it's gonna be hard to narrow down what to offer!  although i already know pocky is going to be present.  everybody loves pocky.
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