I went out in public AND wore pants that buttoned up two days in a row over the weekend. I didn't get hives, but I did get a little burning sensation. I went to a cosmetics party at Alix's (another FS spouse and mom of three adorable kiddos) on Friday and had a lovely time soaking my feet and sampling the products (both the cosmetic kind and the yummy food and booze kind). Any cream or lotion that promised even the remotest possibility of wrinkle reduction I slathered liberally around my eyes. Forty-something years of laughing have time marching right across my face and while I don't regret most of that laughter, I'm not one to turn away any help in the battle against Mother Nature. Everything smelled so good and made my skin feel so soft. So, cream after cream I slapped on my laugh lines, right on top of each other. I figured by the time I got home I would be looking like the dewy fifteen year-old girl I was when my husband first laid eyes on me. In retrospect, I think I should have been a little more cautious, considering that I'm allergic to everything on the planet. Anyway, Mitch failed to notice that I had turned into a nubile fifteen year-old when I got home, possibly because I told him how much money I'd spent on my amazing transformation before he'd had a chance to fully appreciate my beauty. I woke up in the middle of the night with the skin around my eyes on fire. It's still burning a little, two days later. Mother's Nature is working on her own laugh lines over this, to be sure. Bitch.
Yesterday we went to a Foreign Service blogger's potluck at the Foreign Service Ghetto, aka the Oakwood. We took our girls, and they were thrilled to be back. My kids LOVED living at Oakwood. Lots of other kids, their own little store full of candy and ice cream, a pool, and a hot cocoa machine. What's not to love? I'll refrain from making a list for you. Carrying my dog out like a baby to do his business because he was terrified of the construction workers and all their machinery, the soul-sucking lighting in the kitchen, and waking up at 4:45 am to get my kids to school were definitely great times at Oakwood, though. Ooh! See what I did? I made a list anyway. My misery at Oakwood was not Oakwood's fault (except the lighting-ick!), but the memories are forever intertwined. Anyhoodle, it was fun meeting other bloggers (every one of them nice, lovely, smart, witty, and attractive) and the girls had a blast playing with the other kids. Mitch even found a group of geeks to hang out with. Many thanks to the organizers. Unfortunately, the hot cocoa machine was out of order, but they did have heaping plates of tasty blogger-made treats to ease their pain.
I had a few people ask me for my potluck recipe. This is the perfect potluck dish, because it's easy, doesn't require refrigeration or heating, and feeds a crowd. It's my sister Kim's dish, but I've had to learn it since my teenager loves it and since I've been ripped from the bosom of my family to follow my husband who is working for the Man who may shut down the government and reduce his pay which was already cut when he took said job. But that's a really long title for a recipe, so let's just call it:
Kate's Sister Kim's Spicy Noodles
1 lb Vermicelli *
1/4 C plus 1Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
3 Tbs Sesame oil
1Tbs chili oil
1/3 C vegetable oil
1/3 C Sugar
3/4 C Soy Sauce
2 tsp red pepper **
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Bunch green onions
Cook the pasta according to directions. Toast the sesame seeds unless you're lazy like me and buy pre-toasted ones. Mix the rest of the ingredients through the red pepper flakes and then toss with pasta. Finely chop the green onions and mix most in with the noodles, leaving some to sprinkle on top along with the extra Tbs. of sesame seeds. I usually make it the day before and refrigerate so the noodles can really soak up the sauce, and then sprinkle the final onions and sesame seed just before serving.
* I like to use whole wheat spaghetti, but I've also used soba, angel hair pasta, and regular spaghetti with good results.
**adjust to your personal heat preferences. I like to feel my lips burning for at least a few hours after I eat it, so I generally add more heat. Note that if you make it the day before, the heat intensifies.
Under no circumstances take out your contacts when you are finished making this recipe, even if you've washed your hands. Ask me how I know this!