Weekend of Fails: Thai Peanut Slaw with Pepper Jelly and Peanuts

September 14, 2017

Ever have a run of days where it just seems like nothing goes your way? That was pretty much last week for me, and while, of course, nothing monumental like being stuck in a hurricane (or cleaning up after a hurricane) was part of my litany of woes, I did have woes. Small, persnickety, still-annoying woes.

You’d think a girl would feel a little embarrassed, complaining about relatively inconsequential things during times like these, and I guess I do. Sort of. But then again, isn’t that my right as a citizen and member of the human race? Thou shalt have the right to complain about your irrelevant but irritating shit? That right is written in the Constitution somewhere, I’m sure of it. So here goes.

Woes in the Animal Category:

Our geriatric, crotchety rescue cat, Aria, has become increasingly and persistently vocal…in the middle of the night. For hours, in the middle of the night. She’s got a horrifically loud, annoying meow to start with, but to be awakened (and kept awake) at all hours with her howls is wearing on all of us. There’s a reason the word “caterwaul” was invented. It’s a horrendous sound.

There’s no physical reason for this vocalization besides old age and perhaps her being pissed off with the presence of foster kittens, although I have taken great pains to keep the kittens separated from her. We have resorted to putting her in the basement or the garage at night, but her yellin’ and yowlin’ is so freaking loud that we can hear it quite well from those spots, even with a white-noise machine blasting in the bedroom.

It’s beginning to make us unhinged and slightly murderous-feeling.

Woes in the Physical Fuckery Category:

As if things weren’t already wonk in the sleep department, let’s ratchet things up a few more notches with the arrival of crippling, nighttime leg cramps. Did the Sleep Gods get together over beers some night and say, “You know, tinnitus and the howling cat from Hades just aren’t cutting it. What else can we add the the mix? How about stealthy, sleep-interrupting bursts of muscle spasms and agony? Yasssss. More beers all around! High five!”

They started months and months ago, but they were few and far between. The past month or two, I’ve been getting them nearly every night, multiple times. They’re the kind of cramps my mother used to refer to as “charley horses,” if that makes any sense? Basically, your muscles seize up violently and angrily, so you are forced to leap out of bed, hop around and shriek like your hair is on fire.

On good nights, I get one or two of these treasures. On bad nights, I get three or four. On really bad nights, I’m doing the midnight disco every 40 minutes, on repeat.

Which is why I am now sleeping in the basement. My daytime job of cooking, cleaning, driving, pet wrangling, homework monitoring and attempting to write is something that isn’t best done on 2-3 total hours of sleep a night, but it can be done. My husband is another story, so he’s sleeping elsewhere until we (hopefully?) get this sorted through. It just makes sense. Clean laundry vs saving lives? Not a hard decision.

I’m not happy about looking like Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop’s love child, though.

Yes, I’ve seen doctors about these mean fuckers.  I tried the recommended potassium, magnesium, epsom salts, melatonin.  I tried stronger sleep meds and medication for restless leg syndrome, even though that’s not what I have. I stretch and I massage. Nothing works. I have one more last-ditch medical appointment later this month but what I keep hearing is: “Well, Hell. We don’t know.” If you look in a dictionary under “Well, Hell, we don’t know?” do you see my name? I feel like it ought to be there.

Woes in the Kitchen Category:

I’m feelin’ like this last one owes a lot of its heritage to the two previous categories of woes. Someone as sleep-starved, pissed off and alas, despairing as I am right now probably shouldn’t be lurching around a kitchen with appliances that heat up or can be left unattended.

I’ve had more kitchen fails and episodes of culinary stupidity in the last few weeks than I’ve ever had in a lifetime of cooking. I’ve forgotten the cookies in the oven, I’ve charred the pizza, I’ve left pots of things boiling until overflowing, I’ve incinerated ALL the toast.

I even screwed up something that’s almost impossible to screw up: meat loaf. My sweet Daddy-o had oral surgery last week and couldn’t do much more than gum down food, so when he came up for Saturday football-watching and a meal, I needed to make something pretty mushy, and meat loaf and mashed potatoes definitely fit the bill. I wanted to send him home with leftovers, so I hustled off to the store and bought 2 1/2 pounds of organic, grass-fed bison and tons of potatoes, intent on making the mother of all meat loaves. I spent the whole morning shopping, chopping, sauteeing and mashing. I popped that bad boy in the oven before kickoff and figured that by half time, we’d be sitting down to a dinner that at least the men in the family were  going to love.

And I’m sure they would have loved it, but then I took it out of the oven and somehow dropped the whole business on the floor. I have no idea what happened. One minute I’m taking Meat Loaf MotherLode out of the oven and the next minute, I have a shattered casserole and a floor full of deceased loaf.

Hoo-boy, was it a mess.

Everyone but the dog looked on in horror. Mozz-man thought he’d won the lottery, and he pretty much did, considering he was pacing hopefully for hours while the thing was being assembled and baked.

Minutes passed and we just stared at the landfill of meat loaf on the floor, and then I began laughingandlaughingandlaughing because I’m just so damn tired and yes, it was a horrible mess but the world is flooding and on fire and it’s just friggin’ meat loaf, thank Jesus.

We cleaned up the hot disaster, and I made an emergency run to our local Sprouts market and purchased all of the meat loaf they had in the case. Sorry, people intent on Sprouts meat loaf last Saturday…you were out of luck.

We eventually sat down to eat and the boys deemed it delicious, and Mozzy ate his bowl of bison chow. Day was saved. Well, everything but my poor casserole dish.

I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t cook anything ambitious when I’m this tired, though. Since Saturday, we’ve stuck to tacos, paninis, salads and this Thai-inspired slaw. You can even do as I did and add rotisserie chicken (or cooked shrimp) to this slaw, boil up some frozen potstickers and call it supper. It’s not spicy, despite the jalapeno jelly called for–it just has kind of a nice zing to it. It’s perfect for busy–or exhausted–days.

Much love to you, readers. I hope you all are in good health and good spirits. Now please send some sleep vibes my way, would you?




Thai-ish Slaw with Pepper Jelly and Peanuts

serves 4-6


1/4 cup jalapeno pepper jelly

1/4 cup red pepper jelly

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1-2 tablespoons cider vinegar

salt and pepper, to taste

16-ounce package coleslaw/carrot mix

1/2 cup sliced red onion

1-2 diced jalapeno peppers, seeded

1/4 cup chopped basil or cilantro, optional

1/2 cup lightly crushed dry roasted peanuts

To make it a meal: add shredded rotisserie chicken or cooked shrimp



In a small bowl, whisk together the jalapeno pepper jelly, red pepper jelly, olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large serving bowl, combine coleslaw mix, red onion, diced jalapeno and basil/cilantro, if using. Toss with the dressing (start with about 3/4 of the dressing, toss, and add more if you like). Top with peanuts.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen September 14, 2017 at 9:38 am

Ohgosh, you have my utmost sympathy with the sleep deprivation. I’ve been blessed with a tiny human who never, never consistently sleeps well and it is driving me absolutely batty. I have found myself doing so many more of those ridiculously things like forgetting the boiling water, burning the crap out of stuff etc. ugh!!!
As far as the leg cramps, two things to consider if not already done: I have had some patients who had improvement in their leg cramps when they took a few Tums (calcium carbonate) before bed. Also, if they haven’t checked for iron deficiency (with a full panel: iron, TIBC, saturation, ferritin) they should. Can see leg cramps with iron deficiency (even when hemoglobin is okay).
Anyway, I sincerely hope you get some good answers and some good nights of sleep soon! <3


Dana Talusani September 14, 2017 at 11:23 am

Thank you, Jen! Full bloodwork being done in a week! I’d love it if it was something simple like iron!


Anon September 15, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Speaking of full bloodwork, it sounds like that cat could use some, as well! Older kitties with hyperthyroidism tend to start yowling a lot at night, so if that’s something you’d like to look into, I would recommend getting her in to the vet to check her thyroid levels.


Dana Talusani September 16, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Thank you so much! Will have it checked out!


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