Cheerful "BAM"blings

Of What's-Her-Face

Archive for November, 2018

The Applebee’s Adventure: The First 12 (and a bonus)

Two years ago I picked a fast food restaurant (Culver’s) and a sit-down restaurant (Applebee’s) and decided that I was going to eat through the entire menu for each of them! Food, trying new things, adventure… why wouldn’t everyone do this?

Unfortunately, I did not come up with very good methods for recording my thoughts on the food I tried. I am almost done with Culver’s, and when I pick my next fast food place I’ll find a proper method for keeping track of everything. But for Applebee’s, I have taken a picture of everything that I’ve tried, and while I might not remember all of my impressions since I made no notes after I ate the food, I’ll do my best to sum up my opinions in a short “12 dishes in!” blog.

I actually did 13 dishes this time, though, because the last 2 on the list were tried together, and it feels wrong to separate them. Also, this is mostly in order, but I know that the middle ones have some mix-ups, so just ignore that.


  1. Bourbon Street Chicken & Shrimp
    This was quite a while ago as it was the very beginning, but I thought the picture looked really appetizing. While I am a big fan of almost all kinds of meat and am not a picky eater, I remember this one having a flavor that was disappointing. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as I was expecting; it must’ve been the actual taste of the bourbon that I didn’t anticipate. But everything was cooked wonderfully, and I’m sure I would try it again because chicken and shrimp is a hard combo to pass up.


  1. Spinach Artichoke Chicken Cavatappi
    I don’t remember much except that it was very green. I think it was good, but I don’t recall it being particularly amazing, and not one that I would try again over other pasta dishes. But I would eat a LOT of pasta dishes, so that just means I like everything else better.


  1. Four-Cheese Mac & Cheese w/ Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders
    This was a good comfort dish, although I sometimes have a hard time when I have whole pieces of chicken on my pasta and then I have to finagle how to cut it so that it actually works in bite-sized pieces. While this wasn’t anything fancy or anything I loved, it’s certainly a good option for something basic and filling.


  1. Hand-Battered Fish & Chips
    Sometimes I really don’t like fish, and sometimes I really do, and for this dish I really do. I’ve probably over-hyped it in my head by now because I don’t expect to like fish and so when I do I’m pleasantly surprised, but then my mind thinks it was the best thing ever and so the next time I try it it’s not as good as I thought it was, and so finally on the third time I have -both past memories, the good and the bad, which leads to the more accurate “ah this is good but not the life blood of food” reaction. Also, I tried this the night that the cast and crew of Nunsense went out to dinner when our second show got rained out, so that’s definitely a fun memory associated with the fish as well.


  1. Chicken Fajita Rollup
    I have no memory of trying this one… wait, maybe I have one. I think this was really good! I know I tried something with tortillas with my sister across from me who got a similar thing, and maybe we both tried each others. That’s probably what happened with the brisket tacos! Anyway, the event isn’t strong in my memory, but now that I think about it I think the fajitas were really good.


  1. BBQ Brisket Tacos
    See above comment. Also, not a fan of BBQ, so even if I liked them when I ate them I wouldn’t order them again by myself.


  1. Grilled Chicken Breast
    This I also don’t remember… but it’s grilled chicken breast, which is a great way to cook and eat chicken in a really simple way… you can’t go too wrong with that, right? I’m sure they didn’t.


  1. Chicken Wonton Stir-Fry
    I was hanging with a friend of mine when I tried this one. I think it was quite tasty, but it didn’t have gripping flavors that demanded that I try it again in the future. But I also have to try the shrimp version of the same dish, so we’ll see if I can remember what the stir-fry tastes like after 2 attempts.


  1. “8” Oz Top Sirloin
    I remember this being a really satisfying meal. When you just want some good meat to chew into (that’s a phrase now) with some healthy broccoli and a side of seasoned potatoes, something that’s simple and flavorful and doesn’t make you feel like you ate out of a bucket of grease, this is a great dish for that. I tried it medium well, I think, maybe medium rare. I think I would go rarer. We’ll see.


  1. Caprese Mozzarella Burger
    I don’t remember this either. This is one that looked intriguing but I would probably never get on my own, so it was nice to have a chance to try it. I wish I had more of a memory for how it tasted. I think it was okay but not great. How’s that for a descriptive review?


  1. Quesadilla Burger
    This had really good flavor and everything, and it tasted just like a combination of quesadillas and burgers… and yet somehow it didn’t entirely work for me. Like, if I feel like a burger I think I want a BURGER burger. Maybe I should get this when I’m in the mood for American Mexican food? Definitely worth the try, but I don’t think it’ll be repeated often.


  1. Classic Chicken Parmesan
    My sister ordered this and let me have a portion of it so that I could cross it off my list. It would probably have been better if I had ordered it, so that the pasta was hot. But the chicken was pretty good, and I’m sure the whole dish would’ve been lovely. But as I ate, I did remember that while I love chicken and pasta, chicken parmesan with marinara sauce is not my favorite combination of those foods. It’s one that I always think is a good basic food, but one I don’t actually enjoy as much as I think I’m going to.


  1. Riblet Platter
    Got these when my sister was in front of me so she could eat some. For having BBQ flavor, they were pretty good (remember, I’m not a fan of barbecue?). HOWEVER! Who in the world decided that ribs were a great dish to make and serve to people when it is all slathered in sauce? Ribs are ridiculous to eat! You eat them in the privacy of your own home when you can gnaw the bones or where you have a sink right next to you, or else the waiter has to bring extra napkins over because the plethora of bones makes it RIDICULOUS to eat! Who would ever intentionally choose that method of consuming meat over other methods? I barely managed to eat everything with a knife and a fork and was indignant at having to grab it with my fingers. Ribs are NOT going to be on my menu again anytime soon. Worst way to eat meat in public. Get your act together, somebody!

Melancholy Spiritual Ramblings With Few Answers But a Hopeful Analogy

I’ve been having a kind of stressful year. Well, the last two years have been stressful, I guess. Don’t get me wrong, I love owning my house and being on my own and learning about responsibility and all that fun stuff… but ever since I lost my steady office job 2 years ago, I’ve been having a hard time both getting to a stable place financially (which causes a lot of stress when you’re suddenly paying bills and house repairs that you never had to worry about before) and finding confidence in my “work” part of my life.

Through various stresses and situations, I have been struggling with feeling inadequate. It’s hard not to compare myself to people who seem to have their life more together than me, or who have more ambitious goals, or who seem to have fewer struggles with the things that are really hard for me.

Add to that… I’ve been going through a spiritual dry spell for about 4 years, and while I’ve had good moments and am hopefully on the upswing, not connecting with God like I want to has made the whole “life thing” a little bit harder. I keep thinking to myself “if I could just spend more time with God, if I could read my Bible more faithfully, if I could relearn to connect with God in song, then a whole lot of these problems would be easier”. And yet I still haven’t gotten back into consistency with most of those things.

I was sharing some of my inner struggles and worries with some Christians earlier this year, and someone asked me what my biggest fears were. My two-fold answer is the same deep-rooted worry that’s been in the depths of my heart as long as I can remember: 1) I’m afraid that who I am now won’t ever change… 2) I’m afraid that I won’t find my purpose in life.

I have confidence in who God is and in His power; I have confidence that He can. I tend to doubt that He will.

I don’t have answers to all this. I have Scriptures to cling to, but I haven’t quite knocked out that niggling, mental commentary that says I am somehow holding God up by my lack of initiative, knowledge, and ability to grow.

You know, sometimes I get jealous of people who have all of the flashy, “draw-attention-to-themselves” talents that some Christians have. But deep down, what I really want is to have a heart like Jesus’. I don’t need attention or awards or accolades. I just want to know that I am moldable, that I am a (wo)man after God’s own heart, that my simple pursuit of Him will bring Him joy and can be used to lift up those around me. I get discouraged when I feel like even that’s not happening, like all the compassion and kindness I wish to live out is somehow less than it should be or selfishly motivated. And feeling like even the simplest of things I try to do is wrong can get discouraging.

But maybe the desire to desire God is enough for today? Here is the chorus of Nichole Nordeman’s song “Your Heart” that she wrote from the perspective of King David: 

At the end of the day I wanna hear people say
My heart looks like Your heart, my heart looks like Your heart
When the world looks at me, let them agree
That my heart looks like Your heart, my heart looks like Your heart

Maybe having a long cry over wanting to be more like Jesus is already on the way to having a heart like His. Maybe God is pleased with the way I want to pursue Him, even if I don’t always succeed. Maybe the first step of being like humble, being like Jesus, is by saying that I know I’m not there, but being willing to be willing to be so. It’s not even about trying hard enough, because we can always try harder. It’s about caring about trying. Even that simple desire towards desire, when that’s all I can muster up in a day, that’s enough for Jesus to be pleased with me. Our works mean nothing; God looks at and knows our hearts, and as someone who is covered in the righteousness of Christ because of what HE has done, God loves what He sees when He sees me.

You know what else I thought about the other day? God knows the end of my story. He knows my story arc. He sees every episode of my life, and He knows where all my points of growth are. I had this revelation that, if my life is a TV show that God created… I need to remember that He is NOT impatiently watching each episode in order to get to the ending. God isn’t saying “ugh, I have to get through all of these boring seasons of Bethany being stupid before she is finally who I want her to be”.

God does not look at my life like that. He LOVES watching each episode, because He likes spending time with me! He finds me adorable; he laughs when I’m being goofy and wants to give me a hug when I’m going through a tough time. He relishes the moments that I’m learning, and he sees where all of the story is going even when I’m stuck in the center of the drama. But He DOESN’T make the story just to get to a perfect end goal. He makes the story because He loves the process, and He wants to walk with me through the process. I’m one of His favorite characters.

I don’t know why that analogy hit me so hard, but realizing that God is not just sitting around and waiting for me to get better, knowing that He is walking with me despite all the mistakes and all of the drama and loving every moment because He loves His creation… that somehow really connects with me and give me a new perspective. And yet He loves me so much more than any TV show character, because our lives are real. Thank you, God, for creating my story and finding me adorable.