The Move Countdown Has Begun

Last night I returned to California for the first time since the end of January.

Most of that time, eight glorious weeks, were spent in Boston playing Granny Nanny to little Andy.


Unfortunately, on what was supposed to be my last day in Boston, I came down with a wicked respiratory virus that pretty much knocked me on my tail for days. The “good” news: a few extra days in Boston. The bad news: I couldn’t get anywhere near the baby for fear of infecting him.

That, my friends, was heartbreaking.

I’d stand on the opposite side of the room blowing kisses to Andy and he would reach out his little baby hand in my direction (a brand new skill for him).

His look would say, “Momo, I don’t understand. I thought we had a good thing going, you showering me with constant kisses and me cooing and giggling and just generally being sweet and adorable. What happened?!?!”

broken heart

I have to confess that I did sneak a few “tuck away” kisses under Andy’s chins as I was dropped at the airport. Shhhhh…don’t tell.

Once I finally left Boston I made a pit stop in Chicago to get things organized for our move back.

Let’s review. After 5 1/2 years living the California adventure in San Diego, Peter and I will be moving back home to Chicago permanently.

The moving van is coming in 22 days so the move countdown is on.

By our standards, this is not going to be a complicated move. Packing up a teensy one bedroom apartment is something I could probably do with my eyes closed.

Step One started today:

Cleaning out the pantry.

Between going away parties and a farewell tour of our favorite San Diego restaurants, there won’t be much cooking going on around here over the next three weeks.

It’s a good thing, too, because the cupboard is looking a little bare – especially after pulling out all the expired products.

expired products

A few things I learned from cleaning out my pantry.

  • Food companies seem to take some perverse pleasure in making the “use by” information as difficult as possible to find on their packages.
  • Apparently, I’ve had very little stress in my life in the last year since the box of “Stress Relief” tea sat on the shelf, unneeded until past its use-by date.
  • At some point, for some reason, I bought a can of chocolate frosting then never used it. That’s a mystery…
  • The bottles of red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar and sherry vinegar expired in 2011 meaning that I previously packed and moved these bottles TWICE since they expired. That won’t be happening again.

So now that I’ve cleared out the potentially harmful, expired products from the pantry, I’m left with the challenge of using up what remains.

It’s like my own version of Chopped.

what remains

What delicious dishes can I make using panko, horseradish, bittersweet chocolate and A-1 Sauce?

And what wine might pair with a dish made with pasta and barbecue sauce?

Exciting, right? I bet you wish you were coming to my house for dinner!

Tomorrow’s project?

My closet.

Forcing me to ask that age old question, “What was I thinking when I bought THAT?!?!?!”


Tonight’s dinner turned out to be Italian sausage, roasted red pepper and spinach risotto paired with a 2012 Blair Fox Syrah (an exciting new find from our latest trip to Santa Barbara!).

2012 Blair For Syrah

An excellent use of the pantry items of risotto and chicken stock although I wasn’t quite brave enough to top it with a dollop of horseradish.

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  1. Oh no, sorry to hear you ended your time here with a virus. I love that you tucked away some extra kisses under his chins 😉
    Good luck with the move, sounds like you are already off to a great start!
    Bev recently posted…I’m running my second 5k!My Profile

  2. Oh no…I am so sorry for you that you ended your trip being sick. I came home from my trip to Florida with a bad back and have spent the better part of the last week practically flat on my back, so I can relate. I am disappointed that I never made it up to Boston and will miss you in San Diego by a matter of days! I will be in SD for Mothers Day…can you recommend a great brunch place? I have a reservation at the Ocean Terrace at George’s at the Cove…I would love your thoughts. Good luck packing! xoxo
    Sandy recently posted…When In Doubt…Paris Is ALWAYS A Good Idea!My Profile

    • I thought I was going to get so much done, and so many visits in during my time but none of it happened! The time just flew by! But I will be back and we will plan a meet up! Three places I would consider for Mother’s Day brunch in this neck of the woods: The Marine Room in La Jolla, The Med at La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla and JRDN in Pacific Beach. All have great food and fabulous views! Enjoy!!
      Mo Lux recently posted…The Move Countdown Has BegunMy Profile

  3. It must have been so hard on you and the baby when you caught that nasty virus! Sounds like you had a fabulous dinner last night thanks to your leftovers. Enjoy your last days in California, dear Mo.

  4. Glad you are feeling better…I do not envy your packing even if it is a one bedroom apartment. Our last move was 15 years ago, but moving my boys in and out of dorms was enough for me.

    Skipping the horseradish was probably a wise move.
    Beemie recently posted…Opening Day…My Profile

  5. As long as you take the wine, you’re good to go. I used to be a pro at moving when we moved every few years – this next one will be rough, because everything will need to be sorted out and most likely left behind. Good luck – you’re almost a Midwesterner again!

  6. Your son would be horrified that a box of Kraft maco is in the expired pile. That had to have been tortute at the end for both you and Andy. Good like with packing. Try a little of the horseradish with the panko as a breading for chicken. Too bad no vinegar as you could have done a pork roast with the bbq sauce.

    • You need to go on Chopped – for real!! You would do an amazing job and would definitely wipe out the competition in the dessert round! And, yes, the only thing that would horrify my son more than an expired box of Kraft Mac and Cheese would be me trying to serve him an expired box of Kraft Mac and cheese which I did a few years ago. Oooops!
      Mo Lux recently posted…The Move Countdown Has BegunMy Profile

      • At least it wasn’t expired whitebox maco. Not sure they even make it any more or if he has forgiven Rosey for that Christmas present.

  7. That horseradish may have cleared up your respiratory ills in Boston. You are the third person I know moving in the next two months – happy packing!
    Dana recently posted…Like she didMy Profile

  8. Oh, so sorry that you were sick before you left your sweet family!!
    Every once in awhile I pull something out of the pantry that has 200X on it – oops!!!
    I switched my winter and summer clothes closets yesterday and knew that I should be paring down but didn’t do it – soon!!
    Kim recently posted…Not Stuck, Working on UnstoppableMy Profile

    • My problem is that I go crazy cleaning out my closet then, almost without fail, a month later I will regret parting with some piece that I’m just sure would have been the absolutely perfect item for a particular occasion even though I hadn’t worn it once in 5 years.
      Mo Lux recently posted…The Move Countdown Has BegunMy Profile

  9. Oh now I am sad that you are moving so much further away. I knew the day was approaching but it is still sad. I do hope you are feeling ever so much better and I agree with Dana that the horseradish could have sent your respiratory ills a packin’!
    Take heart about your expiry dates – my mom asked me the other day if she could serve a frozen tortiere that had expired in 2011 …
    Kelly L McKenzie recently posted…Trophies and Awards. Really?My Profile

    • If anyone could pull off serving a 4 year old frozen tortiere, it would be your mom!
      I do wish we had taken advantage of our west coast proximity to meet up. Maybe you will have a stop over in Chicago on your way to visit the kids!
      Mo Lux recently posted…The Move Countdown Has BegunMy Profile

  10. Sorry you ended your trip on a sickly note. I’ll be sure not tell you snuck in some kisses when no one was looking.

    It sounds like you had yourself a fine pantry challenge. What a great result from a random ingredient list.

  11. Girl, I haven’t stopped by in forever. Hope you are doing well and getting all your packing done. I bust out laughing thinking about you having your own “Chopped” dinner with the ingredients. LOL. That’s what dinner at our house looked like Sunday night… this thesis is kicking my butt! Almost done though.


    • I’m pretty sure that my hanging with the baby for 8 weeks was WAY more fun than your writing an accounting thesis! Good luck, my friend! I’m so anxious to get back onto a regular schedule of reading and writing. See you around the blogosphere!
      Mo Lux recently posted…The Move Countdown Has BegunMy Profile

  12. Glad you’re feeling better and you got to sneak in some kisses before you left 🙂 Also, I second your frustration about those blasted use-by dates. It’s like they WANT you to get food poisoning or something.
    Trish recently posted…Overnight Chocolate Chip Oat MuffinsMy Profile

  13. Ahhh that is the worse when you can’t kiss them when you come down with the cold-ugh 🙁

    Wow the countdown begins huh? You and the Rancic family are moving at the same time from Cali to Chicago-are you sure that was not planned :-p Happy Moving!
    Deanna recently posted…The Truth About Essential Oils: Interview with Aromatherapist Aneta Ujcik.My Profile

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