TWENTY-NINE. My Normal Addictions

Ever watch that show, My Strange Addiction?  It’s the show where you can see a grown man who lives his life as a baby in diapers drinking from a bottle, a woman eating cotton like it’s popcorn, and even a woman that eats her husband’s ashes like it’s Fun Dip077…ok, that last one, I’m just sick right now…. need a moment.  It’s official, I’ve managed to gross myself out in my own blog.  Ok, anyhow, point is, we all have our own weird addictions, mine happen to be all food, at least the ones I care to share with you 😉   Why am I sharing some of these with you?  Mainly because so many of you have joked around about whether I eat crap or am addicted to something bad for me and not just fitness…. YES, YES and hey, yes, but that’s not a bad thing.  We are all allowed to cheat on a meal, binge eat something totally awful, watch something completely stupid and even just be something totally ridiculous.  It’s really what makes us who we are, these are the quirks that make us different and you may even be surprised how serious some of these addictions are!

Hello, my name is Monica, and I’m addicted to FRIES.


I love fries.  I have told you this in a few other blogs.  I love those long shards of potato perfectly fried to a warm crisp, lightly covered in salt all tucked into a perfect little satchel. Now, I’m not that picky, they don’t always have to be in a satchel, I am perfectly ok with a pile of fries next to the most perfect bacon cheeseburger.  What’s even more magnificent are crinkle fries…omg, I don’t care if they are from Portillo’s or Ore Ida’s….those little crevices cradling grains of salt like a swaddled newborn, I just can’t get enough!  As much as I love the simplicity of a light dusting of salt, I have recently fallen in love with a variety known as “CRACK” fries.  CrackFriesWCheeseCrop.pngNot only do they lightly beer batter their fries, they sprinkle this angel dust on it that I’ve racked my brain and taste buds to figure out what exactly it’s made up of…so far I believe it’s salt, cracked pepper, dried herbs (not sure which ones exactly), and a pinch of sugar.  I probably polished off a whole order in less than 5 minutes, of which I was supposed to share with 4 other people.  Yeah, then I proceeded to eat from the other baskets and soon enough people were giving me their leftovers…kudos to HopCat for creating something I can’t get enough of and can’t figure out how to make.  The bad news, no I don’t mean my waistline or cholesterol levels…I mean fries I don’t like.  I know, I know…I shouldn’t discriminate, but I do.  I don’t like steak fries at all, they are too big, never crispy enough, too flat to hold salt and seasoning and are just plain heavy!  Fries are a side dish, not a main dish…they are to accompany burgers, not weigh more than them.  Then there is the flip side…Steak n’ Shake fries. steak-n-shake.jpg It’s a pile of reject fries that weren’t good enough to sit with the popular crowd.  They are small, meek and provide no satisfaction and on top of that, there are so many of them!  Overcompensation for size anyone?  Just sayin’.  Oh, and on a side note, one word: KETCHUP belongs with fries, otherwise a horrible condiment.


Hello, my name is Monica, and I’m addicted to GUMMY BEARS.


This addiction is a re-occurring one.  I get on and off this one because it depends on the product.  I mean when I was growing up the only options for gummy bears were those Haribo ones.  That iconic gold bag was unforgettable.  The issue was that you never knew if that was a good bag or a bad bag.  A good bag of gummy bears is when they are still soft and juicy and ygold-bears-3-pound_0_0_180_355_2541.pngou can bite the heads off with your 2 front teeth.  The bad bag wasn’t bad in taste, but they were harder in consistency like Jujubes and you needed your molars to break through them.  Then the evolution of gummies came to fruition with Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish…at least that was my evolution even though these have been around for years prior to my own existence.  I concluded as a child that I liked variety in flavors and thus weened off Swedish Fish.  Most of my teenage years and my 20s, I didn’t eat much gummy candy, malach gummi 145grinly because every brand was trying to out sour the next.  My taste buds went numb.  However, in 2005, when I was working for Storck USA, a candy company, I found a European brand of Gummies called Lach Gummi that restored my faith.  A coworker of mine brought over a fresh bag and I was in love and an added plus, they had a nutritional element that made them decently good for you!
MIND BLOWN.  Unfortunately, you can’t get them in the US because of some FDA ingredient issue, but I don’t know if that’s changed.  These days, I have discovered “healthier” gummy bears from Kissinger that are made with ingredients such as green tea, apricot, berries and hibiscus.  They are a bit pricey, but Starbucks has my loyalty for those.  But the BEST12-flavor-gummi-bears_12 gummy bears I have had as of late come from Indiana….ALBANESE.  I was introduced to them last year, and I have never looked back.  They are delicious, soft, gushy and best of all,
sustainable!  They don’t lose their original state by much even with an open bag lying around!  I was shocked to see that the bag I opened a week ago was still as soft as it was when I opened it, which makes me think how I will never have to play the good bag/bad bag game again!  The Gummy Gods have indeed blessed me!


Hello, my name is Monica, and I’m addicted to FRIED CHEESE. 


Two words. Mozzarella Sticks.  I have loved these since I was a kid and have never once wavered.  I have introduced new versions of them into my repertoire, but nothing beats those frozen ones from Market Day from elementary school.  Every cafeteria had them, every pizza place, ballpark and basically any chain restaurant/bar.  These things were unnaturally shaped rounded logs of melted mozzarella cheese with this golden seasoned breading that I never could duplicate, as I realize that I don’t think I am meant to.  They were so consistent that the school cafeteria couldn’t screw up the frying process.  They always came with a marinara sauce that was under-salted and super acidic.  It was the perfect union of flavors and textures.  Thing is, 30 years later, they still rank number one bar food in my book.  I still crave them, order them, eat them, try to still replicate them and don’t feel an ounce of guilt for doing it.  They just are the perfect food for me.  Later in life, I was introduced to cheese curds.  These are a sub varietal of mozzarella sticks as the curds themselves are a product of rennet and dairy.  They aren’t breaded, but are beer battered for the most part and fried to this light airy pillow of cheese heaven. 13467578_10153511264715124_1908440777_o.jpg I especially love the ones at Haymarket Brewery here in Chicago because they put a heaping spoonful of their chopped giardinera on top that cuts the fried richness with some spice and acidity, I usually don’t share these either.  I am not a huge fan of these new “artisanal” fried cheese knockoffs that I’m seeing chefs creating.  I don’t want fresh mozzarella fried with eggplant that I have to eat with a fork and knife, that’s not a cheese stick.  Cheese sticko.jpgs are FINGER FOODS.  Then there is this place called Roots Pizza that makes their cheese sticks the size of one stick of butter, no, I am not joking, that’s about a 1/4 lb. cheese stick and they give you 4!!!!…too much.  I do have one variation I like at Gino’s East made with Spinach and Cheese but also appropriately labeled as Spinach Sticks, which by the way, reheat up well in the oven if you have leftovers.
My favorite is Sonic, there, yes, I said it.  They are cheap, readily available and perfectly sized in shape and quantity, it doesn’t get much better than that.


Hello, my name is Monica, and I am addicted to Ranch Dressing. 


I have literally left a restaurant because their Ranch dressing was sub par.  I can’t handle bad Ranch Dressing, because it’s so hard to doctor it.  I can make it from scratch, but I can’t fix it if it’s wrong to begin with.  Ranch Dressing is the most balanced condiment to me, when done right.  It’s cool and creamy with a slight tang and even a little freshness.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Tranch image.jpghese variations with cucumber, chipotle and bacon…NO, NO and NO.  Not that they taste bad, it’s just not ranch, they are just different kinds of creamy dressings.  I am a purist when it comes to Ranch Dressing.  Hidden Valley makes the best consumer version and I make the best chef version…dare you to challenge me.  I hate the over-peppered version that is sometimes called “Peppercorn Ranch”…that’s just a nice way of saying the pepper grinder is broken or that your delivery guy brought whole peppercorns instead of ground pepper and you were too lazy to deal with it yourself.  Another version is that “too sweet” ranch that mainly is just that someone swapped out the salt and sugar and couldn’t own up to it.  I mean, come on, EverGreen2_thumb.jpgeven someone that doesn’t like ranch knows when it’s too sweet.  On to the versatility of Ranch Dressing…it’s goes with 90% of everything I eat, and I may or not may put it in things that it doesn’t belong in.  Aside from its dressing and dipping purposes, you can marinade any meat in it, give a new element to a sauce or use it on something completely out of the box like Indian food…yes, I’ve done it and it’s amazing.  I ask for it with most meals that include something fried either as an extra with wings or an additional condiment with fries…I am a condiment slut which is a whole separate issue on its own that requires professional help. Now, I am sure I’ve grossed you out enough with my Ranch obsession, but at least I don’t drink it down like this guy 😉 



Hello, my name is Monica, and I am addicted to Dance Moms.


Yes, I know it’s not a food, but I will bite your hand if you try and change the channel when it’s on or try to override my DVR.  I love and hate this show, as I did touch on this in my birthday blog.  I just can’t get enough some times, and I get upset when the season finale airs and I have no idea if Abby is coming back or not or if Melissa is really leaving the show. I hate that Nia isn’t respected and that Kendall is treated like crap.  I think Abby is a nutcase and I would slap her if she talked to my kid that way, but I will never stop watching it.  I secretly get excited by what new insults she comes up with and how she tells the moms off…. hehehehe!  Although I am aware a lot of this is made of TV, the dances are still real and so is the talent on stage.  I do re-watch dances that I loved on the show on You Tube and reminisce on all my days back in the day when I danced.  It may not sound like the biggest and worse addiction, but of all the TV shows I watch, that aren’t mainstream like Game of Thrones, this one I quietly obsess about.  I mean I even watch the enhanced episode from the previous week that aired before the new episode for that current week just in case I missed something from that last episode.  I marvel at all the Louis Vuitton bags on that show and of course the extensions and fake eyelashes everyone on that show has, including some of the girls.  Trust me, if I am ever in LA or Pittsburgh, I will go visit. 

 Hello, my name is Monica, and yeah I have addictions!  I’m not ashamed as you can see and I embrace my quirks.  I’m sure many of you can relate to some of these and some of you are going to think I am clearly a weirdo.  

Robin Williams said it best in Good Will Hunting when talking about his wife who passed away “People call those imperfections, but no, that’s the good stuff”.  Of course, he was talking about his wife waking herself up by farting, but I think that thought applies perfectly to anything that makes up who you are and what people love about you, so OWN IT… or in my case EAT IT! 


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