Home Sweet Home

Last week was my spring break, and I went to Ireland with the band. We marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin and a band parade in Limerick the following day. We also played some chamber music in a couple of churches and got to do a visit to a high school in Belfast. The trip took a long time to plan and we had so many rehearsals leading up to our departure, but everything was entirely worth it. The super cool thing about it all was that it wasn’t just my high school band that went, it was a combination of the three high schools in the city district. The entire ensemble was just above 90 people and we had some other students and adults that were with us, so it was a big group.

The whole combination of band programs was actually pretty neat, I got to know a few people from the other schools and I’ll be able to see them when solo contest rolls around in two weeks (I’ll tell you about my fear for my solo later). We had a really strong mellophone sections with nine members, which is over twice what I’m used to (this year we had four, last year there were only three of us). The marching was also neat, even though the parade in Dublin felt like an eternity and there were thousands of people around. We met this little band from Germany that had some pretty cute trumpet players, but they spoke German and we don’t so that didn’t go over that well.

Anyway, the food was great. I love my some awesome potatoes so that was pretty easy to take care of. I had fish at least six times during the trip and that made me beyond happy. I know I have made it as a home cook because we were served salmon with a honey mustard sauce one night and I was all like, “I did that before it was cool!” I didn’t have any beef while I was there, but when we were on our way back from the airport I got a cheeseburger from McDonald’s (Shhhh, I won’t do it again, I promise). There were some really cute cafes around, too. One of the ones we went to in Dublin had these amazing sandwiches so we went back. The first time there I got a chicken, spinach, bacon sandwich and the second time I got and open-faced tuna melt. Both were delicious, but also the staff was pretty cute too (oh man, I’m objectifying men left and right today, I’m sorry).

I bought some tes for my father, and some chocolate, but other than that I don’t have anything that would really be edible that I brought back. I did get a couple of new hot pads though, so they will make their way into some pictures soon, hopefully. I’ll talk about the chocolate later, too, once I have eaten it all.

The trip was great, the people of Ireland (and Northern Ireland) were very hospitable, the scenery was beautiful, and the food was wonderful. I hope to someday return, but if not I’m glad that I was able to at least visit once.

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Breakfast Bites

These are possibly the greatest thing ever. Even better than cats, cheese, and French horns. Actually, maybe they aren’t that spectacular, but they are better than other things that people tell you to eat for breakfast if you need a quick bte before you leave the house. I’m not saying a banana and yogurt is bad, but honestly, they don’t keep you as full throughout the morning and yogurt requires a spoon.

I decided to mess around with these a the Thursday we had a snow day (all the way back before break) because I was hungry and it was the morning. I tried a couple of different things and I did them a little different this time, too. They are pretty adaptable, if you don’t like sausage or bacon you can leave it out. If you like them spicy you can toss some hot sauce and peppers in there. But the best thing about these is that you can probably make them with what you have in your refrigerator right now.

You need to gather some sort of bread, (use whatever you have on hand-even torn up biscuts would work), several eggs, some milk or cream (whatever you normally mix into your eggs when you scramble them),

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sausage and bacon (pancetta and ham also work well), and a shredded cheese (again, whatever you have works- cheddar with ham, co-jack with the sausage  you get the picture). You also probably want a can of good cooking spray (Pam works wonders), and you have to have your muffin tin.

Before you start layering things, get a good coating of the spray down, even in the tins that you know you won’t fill, and on the top, in case of spillage. You don’t want to use cupcake liners, so this step is super important. Butter, olive oil, or another fatty substance also works to prevent sticking and leaving half your beautiful thing behind. Look at that good layer, there!

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Now, get your bread and cut it or tear it into small pieces and line the bottoms of each of the tins with the bread, making sure to not leave any of the metal at the bottom visible. Then, sprinkle the chopped bacon into each cup.

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Now, carefully, pour the egg into each cup, making sure to get the bread nice and saturated with it. Don’t go overboard quite yet, we still have some the sausage to add.

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Add the sausage and then pour the rest of the egg over that.

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Now, you get to top each one with a layer of the shredded cheese. Use as much as you would like, and remember to not get too much on the part of the pan that is flat, it can will cause some stressful scrubbing later. (I forgot to take a picture of this step, please forgive me.)

Pop the pan into the oven at 325 ( a little lower than 350 is a little kinder to the eggs) for about 15 minutes.

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They are done once the egg sets up, but don’t let them go longer than that, no one wants overcooked eggs.

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Before you try to take them out of their tins, let them cool (and actually the eggs will continue to set once they exit the oven). one they are as cool as me, you can take them out and package them up in single serve containers. Throw them in  the fridge and microwave them for up to a minute to warm them up. Take them on the go, if you would like.

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I have had one the past two mornings and they are great. I do get hungry before lunch time, though, so might up the protein or have two next week. One egg fills up about two tins, because the bread and meat take up some space too, so it’s okay to want to have two for breakfast.

Iowa is Boring

At least there isn’t any special food here, I can go to Ohio and buy anything that we have here. AND MORE! It’s doesn’t work the other way, though. So after the family goes to Ohio to visit people and we return, we come home and we can’t get some of the same stuff we eat when we’re there.

This can get super frustrating, especially when it comes to the best of pop and chips. I’m such an Iowan, I say pop, I mean soda. I will continue to say pop, so you can deal with it for this post.

The best pop that you can’t seem to get anywhere in Iowa is the Barq’s Red Creme Soda. You can find the regular root beer and creme soda from this brand most super markets in Iowa, but they never stock the red stuff. And this stuff is the best for floats, better than root beer floats. We call them Pink Cows, yeah its weird, but it’s beyond good.

The other stuff you can’t get in Iowa, unless you order it online, would be the Mike-Sells potato chips. Groovy would be the best type, but the others are also good. The taste different than Lays, but not in a bad way at all. They are cooked in peanut oil, so there’s that, but they also seem more salty.

These things are treats, not only because they lack any sort of nutrition, but because we aren’t able to get them whenever we want. My father just returned from a trip, and he brought some back.

These things also remind me of my childhood vacations, spending time in Ohio with extended family, getting to play with my cousins, and going to bed later than normal. All the things that I never could forget about Ohio.