because behaving is boring

Monthly Archives: September 2013

I love fall…I adore hooded sweatshirts, I’ve recently discovered tights (so what if mine are my maternity tights?), and if I could live in tall boots I totally would. Except on the days I wanted to wear stilettos.

Random weirdness: I kept hearing about how my feet were going to get bigger when I had O…but mine actually are smaller. Half of the shoes in my closet are too big for me now. Along with all of my clothes. Go figure.

Anyway…

With cooler fall weather comes an intense desire for comfort food. Lately I’ve been wanting thick stews and chowders, potatoes, and eggs in just about any form. Saturday morning I had a rare opportunity to fix myself something for an early lunch (instead of just eating a handful of O’s Cheerios). I scrambled up some eggs, and after taking the first bite I thought, “I can make this better.”

Oh man, did I ever. I’m not sure I’ll be eating regular old scrambled eggs anymore.

If you would like to have cheesy baked scrambled eggs in your life (um, you do), here’s how:

Assemble the following:

2 tablespoons butter (ish)

About 1/4 cup onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

2 eggs

Splash of milk

Salt and pepper

About a handful of your favorite cheese, shredded

1 tablespoon butter (melted)

About 1/4 cup of Italian bread crumbs (or less, if you aren’t a fan of the topping)

Parmesan cheese to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Over medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and add onions and garlic. Let that cook and make your kitchen smell wonderful while you whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Sometimes I like to get a little crazy (or, as the kids say these days, CRAY CRAY) and add a little Sriracha or regular ol’ hot sauce. Feel free to add any other spices or herbs you’d like.

Pour the eggs into the pan and sprinkle the cheese on top. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then begin to scramble by stirring gently. Cook until the eggs are set to your liking, but remember that you’ll be baking them. Don’t let them get too done, or they’ll get rubbery.

Butter a ramekin or oven-proof bowl lightly. Pour eggs into bowl. Mix breadcrumbs, melted butter, and parmesan cheese, then sprinkle over eggs. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crumb topping has browned.

eggs

Feel free to increase the number of eggs if you want to feed more people…Just use a cookie sheet to hold all of your bowls or ramekins.

Eggy, cheesy goodness. Oh my.

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Friday evening the boy and I joined my parents at a high school football game. It was their homecoming, and the undefeated team of ’73 was being recognized. My dad was a member of that team, an it was fun to meet some of his high school buddies.

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Wednesday night the BF cooked dinner. Was I going to say no to grilled steaks with steamed asparagus and brussles sprouts, corn, and mashed potatoes? Well of course not! I happily chowed down and thanked the good Lord above that I landed myself a man that can cook.

Thursday morning I found myself staring into the fridge, coffee in hand, trying to figure out what I was going to do with leftover steak and a bit of mashed potatoes. “Man”, I thought, “I haven’t had good shepherd’s pie in ages…”

Now I have actually never made shepherd’s pie…I was lucky enough to work close to an Irish pub that served one so good that I dared not attempt it myself. If memory serves, that pie was made with both ground beef and lamb. It’s delicious.

My pie is probably not traditional, but it’s tasty and it made use of my leftovers.

For the filling, you need:

About 1 tablespoon butter/margerine
1/2 small/medium onion, cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into thick slices
1 can green beans (or corn)
Any other leftover veggies
Leftover beef (in my case, steaks)
1 can beef broth
Rosemary
Thyme
Basil
Ground ginger (optional)
Salt
Pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cool water

For the topping:
Leftover mashed potatoes
Buttermilk (or regular milk)
Butter
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a pot over medium low-ish heat and add onions and garlic. Let cook while chopping your carrots and celery, then throw them in the pot, cover, and let everything cook until softened. Add beef broth along with herbs and spices (all to taste), raise heat to medium and let simmer until it reduces a bit.

Once the broth has reduced to your liking, mix the cornstarch with cool water and pour it into the pot while stirring. Once it thickens, add your beef and green beans (or any other leftover cooked veggies). Stir to get everything combined and spoon into a baking dish. Set aside.

Over low heat, stir enough butter and buttermilk into your leftover mashed potatoes to bring them back to life. I used my hand mixer to whip the potatoes to spreading consistency. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Spread potatoes over the beef mixture. Pop into a 375 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes or until the taters brown in top.

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I like to put this kind of thing on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet…just in case it bubbles over.

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Photogenic? Nope… Tasty? Yes. The best part is the layer of mashed potatoes, in my opinion.


We’ll get to the cake in a minute, but first…A story:

I didn’t drink in high school…I think it’s safe to say I was a bit of a goodie-goodie. When I got to college, I seriously wasted no time discovering alcohol. Like, orientation night. Vodka and I became friends, and I learned that I liked Boone’s Farm (strawberry, of course) because I could get two bottles for super cheap. I liked beer because it was always in abundance at parties and, better yet, it was FREE.

One evening, my friends and I headed out to a party that we heard was going to be pretty awesome. Like most college parties, It was being held in the basement of someone’s off-campus rental house. As we descended the stairs we began to hear rumors that someone had forgotten the all important tap for the keg. Surely not! What kind of irresponsible party-thrower would forget such a thing?

It was true. There we stood with our empty red solo cups, crammed into a hot, smelly, damp basement with a shitload of other college students that were all getting more sober and grumpy by the minute. Just as we were getting ready to leave, someone materialized in front of me with a gallon of cheap tequila. In the real world, this would be a sketchy situation that should be avoided. At a college party, this was like a light shining down from Heaven.

The next thing I know, I’m drinking straight tequila out of desperation and complaining that it tastes like smelly feet. Somehow I ended up finding Tequila Man and getting refills, and when the tap FINALLY appeared I went ahead and topped my tequila off with beer. It still tasted like dirty feet but it was doing the job pretty efficiently.  So well, in fact, that I ended up drinking a few more half and half cups before I lost the ability to find the dude with the tequila.

I don’t recall much of the rest of that night. I DO remember that my friends thought I shouldn’t be left to wander home alone, and that it was decided I would crash in a buddy’s top bunk. They escorted me across campus, while I dashed (ok, stumbled) around, hiding behind potted trees and shrubs while singing the Mission: Impossible theme at the top of my lungs (DUN DUN DUN DUH DUH DUN DUN DUN DUH DUH… DOODELEEEDO…DOODELEEEDO). At one point, I decided to steal one of the potted trees that lined the campus sidewalks…”for camouflage”.

Needless to say, at some point that night the tequila left my body in a rather violent manner. The next day was spend wishing death would come relieve me from the throes of my very first real hangover. I swore to never drink tequila again. My body made sure I would keep that promise by gagging at the mere smell of the stuff.

Fast forward a couple of years (wink, wink).

Friday was my Mama’s birthday. My dad planned to take her out for dinner and a margarita, and since I make a cake every year, I offered to have everyone come to my house after dinner. I knew that I wanted to make her a margarita flavored cake so I started searching for a recipe.

I discovered lots of “recipes” that started with a white cake mix. Um, NO. Lucky for me, just as I was starting to get annoyed I discovered the darling Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe for from-scratch margarita cupcakes and frosting that looked promising.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 tablespoons tequila
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

To Brush the Cupcakes:
1 to 2 tablespoons tequila

For the Tequila-Lime Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
Pinch of coarse salt

For the directions, please visit the original post here.

I followed the directions almost to the letter…I did leave the tequila out of the frosting (but I added lime zest) and I skipped the brushing. I took a teeny nibble out of one of the cakes and felt like the margarita taste was definitely there, and I didn’t want the tequila to be overpowering. I also used salted butter because I always use salted butter…and I left the extra salt out of the frosting.

I did have a teeny issue with the cakes…they did not rise at all. I ended up making two cakes and just stacking the four layers to be the size of a regular cake. Problem solved!

Everything still turned out beautifully. The margarita flavor was there, but not in an overpowering way. I was a bit disappointed that you couldn’t see the lime zest in the frosting, so next time I’ll reserve some for decoration.

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cake and candles

That scarf that my mom is wearing? I totally made it. I taught myself to crochet last week after getting all of my Grandma’s stuff. Neat, huh?

Make this cake (or cupcakes!) if you enjoy margaritas. If you REALLY enjoy tequila, go ahead and douse them in it. You could probably leave the tequila out altogether if you’re not a fan (like me) but I sacrificed my own comfort for my dear sweet mother. I’m a giver.

I ate a whole piece to be a good sport and I didn’t even barf, so that’s a plus!

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Who doesn’t love popcorn? It’s really the perfect snack…Plain with a little salt, with salt and cracked back pepper…Or you can toss it with a little cinnamon and sugar if you like it sweet. The possibilities really are endless.

My parents have one of those super fancy stove top popcorn poppers. You know, the kind that takes up a shit ton of cabinet space and requires you to stand there stirring the whole time while everyone else is having fun?

Kind of like this.

I’m not going to go to all of that trouble every time I want some popcorn, but I really don’t like the microwave stuff.  You know what would be great? If there was a way to make microwave popcorn at home so you know exactly what goes in it.

I did some searching, and after reading a handful of recipes I thought I had it figured out. Here’s what you need to make your very own microwave popcorn without all of that nasty stuff.

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1 Paper lunch bag

1- 1 1/2 teaspoons popcorn salt/ fine sea salt

1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil

1/4 cup popcorn kernels

Dump the popcorn into the lunch bag, then add oil and salt. I like to shake it up to coat the kernels, then press the air out (as best you can) and fold the bag down until it’s securely closed. You could staple the bag shut, but I didn’t because I couldn’t find our stapler and I wasn’t convinced the microwave wouldn’t blow up. O isn’t old enough to plausibly be to blame for stuff like that, so I try not to break things.

Oh come on, I’m just kidding. Mostly.

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Put a paper towel under the bag, because the oil will soak through a bit. You’ll still have to wipe the microwave plate off, but the towel does help.

I set the timer for three minutes and then stand there with my finger hovering over the stop button. I don’t have a hard and fast time for you to use, because every bag will be a little different. Just stay close to the microwave and stop it once the pops slow down. Please don’t let it burn, because hours later your BF will come home and ask what you tried to burn down.

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You get light, fluffy, crunchy popcorn without all of that nasty neon orange mystery gunk. It’s actually delicious right out of the bag, but I like to liven my popcorn up a bit.

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Parmesan dill popcorn:

1 bag DIY microwave popcorn

butter, about a tablespoon (or more…it’s your popcorn!)

onion powder*

granulated garlic*

dried dill*

parmesan cheese (Green can works just fine)*

*To taste

Pour the butter over your popcorn, then sprinkle the onion, garlic and dill over it. Toss, then add cheese and toss again. All done!

You could also mix hot sauce into butter and have Buffalo popcorn if you like it spicy.

I know this is going to sound weird…Chicken bullion powder is pretty good on popcorn, but it contains MSG so I stopped buying it.

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Tajin (a delicious mix of chili powder, lime and salt that is wonderful on fresh fruit) is also a delightful spicy addition.

What are your favorite popcorn toppings?

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Well it seems a bit odd that a curmudgeon like me would be nominated for something called The Sunshine Award…But it happened! Sweet Jennifer from My Sweet Sanity was kind enough to nominate me. You should totally go spend some time on her blog…The good news is, pictures are calorie-free!

According to Jennifer, the rules are as follows:

Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
Share 11 random facts about yourself.
Answer 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
List 11 bloggers.  They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer & let all the bloggers know they’ve been nominated. You cannot nominate the blogger that nominated you.
 Well here goes nothing…
Eleven Random Facts About Me
– Even though I took voice lessons and played guitar, I never learned how to read music.
– I love football (both college and NFL) and I have a fantasy league… As far as I’m concerned there are only two seasons: Football and boring.
– My three favorite movies are (in no particular order): The Sound of Music, Schindler’s List, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights
– I have never seen Star Wars and I don’t plan to.
– I pretty much never wear makeup and I do my hair about as frequently. Lucky for me I was blessed with wavy/curly hair so I can just wash and scrunch it with mousse.
– I think I might actually die if someone took my smartphone away.
– I get more excited about buying things for other people than buying stuff for me.  Christmas and other people’s birthdays are my favorite holidays.
– I had a pet anole in college…his name was Mojo and he was awesome. My first roomie got day drunk and tried to eat him.
– I didn’t drink or smoke or do anything bad until I got to college.
– I’m a member of Kappa Delta Gamma sorority.
-I went through a phase of randomly meeting famous people. The list includes: Mario Lopez, Brady Quinn (Jets), Greg Oden (Heat), Mike Conley (Grizzlies), Donald Brown (RB for the Colts, #31), Lewis Black, the members of the bands Disturbed, Incubus, Offspring, and Orgy.
Eleven questions from Jennifer:
What is your favorite caffeine fix?
COFFEE! I drink about a pot of black coffee a day.
– Are you a sun worshipper or a sunblocker? 
Blocker, for sure. I’m as pale as can be… In my twenties I went through a phase of going to the tanning bed but that didn’t last terribly long.
– What is your absolute favorite food?
I don’t know… I love LOVE food so I can’t really name just one. Spicy. Can I say that? Or cheese.
– What one piece of technology could you not live without (excluding internet)?
My smartphone. I seriously might die.
-What is your favorite board or video game?
Mario Kart for the Nintendo 64. I’ve never been beaten.
– What is your favorite meal of the day (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) and why?
Dinner…Because it’s usually the only one I have a chance to eat!
– If you won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere you wanted to go, where would you pick?
Ireland! Or I’d take this awesome European Holocaust tour that goes to all of the remaining camps plus a few other important places… Yeah, I’m a nerd.
– What is your favorite season and why?
Football! But for real, I love fall. My birthday is in September, plus the cooler weather, changing leaves, FOOTBALL, and my boy’s birthday. It’s the best time ever.
– If you could meet any person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Dang it, just one? Um… nope. Can’t decide. It would be either my mom’s dad (he died when she was in college) or my dad’s dad (who died when my dad was in kindergarten).
– If you could pick a super power for yourself what would it be and why?
Invisibility. For when I need to go to the store but I don’t want to get ready. Oh, ok…and to pull some awesome pranks on people.
– Do you prefer heels or flats?
I’m five foot one inch tall… I would live in heels if I could!
My Nominees: 
And finally, my questions: 
– If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?
– Who is your favorite actor/actress? Why?
– What song always cheers you up when you’re sad?
– What is your favorite toy from your childhood?
– What is your least favorite thing about being an adult?
– Someone is going to take you out to dinner, any restaurant you like. Where would you go?
– If you have kids, how did you decide on names?
– What is your favorite holiday?
– What is your favorite book?
– How much sleep do you absolutely have to have to function?
-What is your favorite way to de-stress?

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After a lovely birthday weekend (I will write about that later…), I kind of expected Monday to hit me a bit hard. I didn’t expect that to happen immediately after I rolled out of bed.

I opened my eyes and looked around… The BF had already left for work and all was quiet.The boy was awake and sitting up, but from what I could tell by looking at the monitor he seemed to be playing quietly.

When I walked into his room I saw that he was playing quietly. With his diaper. That he had removed. After he pooped.

SHIT

When he saw my reaction he, of course, started crying. I scooped him up and headed downstairs to put him in the bath. As I carried him down the stairs I couldn’t help but notice everywhere he put his stinky little fingers… Oh, now I have poop on my shoulder… and now there’s probably some on my neck…and there goes a big ol’ smear down the front of my shirt.

Sigh

After cleaning him (and me) up, I got him settled with a bottle in the play yard and headed back upstairs to clean up the crib. Once I’d scrubbed all of the smelly, smudgy fingerprints I rinsed the bedclothes and tossed everything in the washer.

I spent a good amount of time checking myself over for any poop I may have missed. Once I was sure that I was poop-free, I started a pot of coffee because seriously.

The boy was finished with his bottle and had discovered Sophie, so I decided to let him play while I worked on a plan for dinner.

When I opened the refrigerator door, my birthday cake from last night said, “Hello there! I see that you’re having a rather challenging morning. I’ll bet a nice, chocolaty piece of cake would make you feel better!”

Well.

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It totally did.

Hey, cake would not normally be my breakfast of choice but after my morning?

I deserve some cake.



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