Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bottles, bottles everywhere...

...And not a drop to drink - because they're all empty bottles I hold onto!

I LOVE bottles. Wines bottles, pretty water bottles, syrup bottles... my storage shelves are lined with the things. I actually have trouble parting with them! The more striking the silhouette the more likely I am to hold on to them for dear life!
Just doing a quick inventory of my 'stash', I found bottles that previously held gourmet lemonade, hot chocolate mix and marshmallows, maple syrup, lychee liquor and lots and lots of sugar syrups. I did a purge recently of some wine bottles I had been holding onto, and opted to keep just their corks instead of the whole bottles. There's just something about a beautifully shaped glass vessel that beckons. (Let's not even get into my vase obsession!)

My husband doesn't get it, but I don't expect him to. He's at least gracious enough to tolerate it, and really, that's the best I could hope for. This past week, however, two different incidences occurred which helped me to feel at least somewhat justified in his eyes for keeping all of these pretty pretties. The first was the lesson plan for my Sunday School class which was supposed to center around the 5th day of creation: Birds and Fish. Sadly, thanks to the Chicken Pocked Boy, I was unable to lead the class and had to line up a willing helper to take over for the week. I had mentioned the Jellyfish-in-a-bottle activity to this helper and said that I would provide one. She also offered to make a couple to bring, but knowing from my 2 previous experiments with it that it was not as simple as the online tutorials made it look, I still made mine to send along. For you regular readers, you may remember a few months ago that I bought a stupidly overpriced bottle of natural spring water that tasted little better than tap water, all because it had a pretty plastic bottle - the perfect bottle for this activity in fact. My first try of shaping the jellyfish out of a plastic bag worked, and I learned that less is more in the tentacle area, and combined with the beautiful bottle, I produced a very great-looking jelly-fish-in-a-bottle! When Matt took it to the church for my volunteer, she raved over how wonderful mine was compared to the ones she had made; the difference was in the bottle. She had tried making her's in pop bottles which had far too much curve to them to see the beautiful movements of the 'jellyfish' as it swam up and down the bottle. Score one for me and my bottles.

The second incidence occurred yesterday. Matt had brought me home a bundle of tulips, 5 of them actually (one for every point of Calvanism... but that's my husband's humor for you!) and he set them in the tallest vase that he could find. By morning, these beautiful, long-stemmed tulips were dropping down onto the table top. The vase simply didn't offer them enough support. Matt lamented the stunted nature of all of my narrow vases and commented on the apparent need to hack off about 6" worth of stem from my beautiful flowers - but I would have none of it. Again, it was my bottle stash to the rescue! Matt brought home an interesting wine the other day for some company we were having over. The wine was called VOGA Quattro and was made up of a blend of 4 different grapes. It was a nice drinking wine (it was italian, so of course I would like it), but equally as nice was the bottle. It was a capped bottle that formed this beautifully stream-lined cylindrical shape. I kept the corks and the bottle this time. Oh, and the next time we bought wine I got the same kind again, moreso for the bottle than anything! Well, it turns out that they are the perfect height for my tulips! Matt was again pleased with the aesthetic properties of my bottles, and I was again justified in keeping said bottles at all! Score two for me and my bottles!

I'm sorry to report that as I write this I am looking out the window and watching the snow fall. Doesn't anyone know that it's spring?!? I went to make a seasonally apropos meal last night and the weather defied me and made me look foolish. I thought BBQ ribs would be a nice meal for the first day of spring, but it got a bit too nippy out by the time the ribs were boiled to make barbquing desirable. So, I opted to oven roast them instead, which bumped our meal time by a fair bit. What was supposed to be dinner at 6:00 actually turned into dinner at 7:00. I felt so bad for making Matt wait for dinner that I decided to do up a treat for him: Red Lobster copy-cat cheese biscuits! They are Matt's favorite thing about Red Lobster (which I don't get... have you tried their crab legs and their coconut shrimp???) and so I figured all would be forgiven if I could produce a reasonable facsimile of them. I had some of my go-to scone mix ready and waiting to be used up, which made my job worlds easier. This scone mix is award winning - or it would be if I knew of a competition for scone mixes... and is versatile between sweet and savory. Today I threw in some grated cheddar, mixed them and spooned them into little mounds. Before I popped them in the oven I brushed them with some garlic butter (using garlic powder - real garlic was too... real tasting.) and as soon as they came out of the oven I brushed them with more garlic butter. The only difference between the Red Lobster biscuits and mine were that mine weren't uber greasy and they tasted light and fluffy but still had a distinct crunchiness to the outside! Now, I apologize, but I can't publish my scone recipe for mass consumption. It's a trade secret that I got from the same place as my epic Mulligatawny recipe which I am not at liberty to divulge, but if you know me, hit me up for it! I have no issue releasing it to friends! Just, not to the world at large.
Well, As pretty as my bottles are and as yummy as my cheese biscuits were, I think my husband would be slightly disappointed if I got nothing done today. Sigh. But how about one more pretty bottle picture for the road?

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)

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