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.
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
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.
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.
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
Ground ginger (optional)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cool water
For the topping:
Leftover mashed potatoes
Buttermilk (or regular milk)
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.
I like to put this kind of thing on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet…just in case it bubbles over.
Photogenic? Nope… Tasty? Yes. The best part is the layer of mashed potatoes, in my opinion.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Parmesan dill popcorn:
1 bag DIY microwave popcorn
butter, about a tablespoon (or more…it’s your popcorn!)
parmesan cheese (Green can works just fine)*
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!”
It totally did.
Hey, cake would not normally be my breakfast of choice but after my morning?
I deserve some cake.
Can you believe that 32 years ago I looked like this?
Fun fact: That dress? Size newborn, and waaaay too small. The nurses couldn’t even button the back of it. The doctor referred to me as mom and dad’s “little football player”.
So obviously I look a bit different now. Like, less cross-eyed. And I have more hair.
I also no longer resemble a football player, so far as I can tell.
At any rate, I had a wonderful birthday and I plan to keep celebrating through the weekend.
Good night, friends… And thank you for reading!
Do you guys remember that potato chip contest… Come up with a new flavor and win a million dollars or something like that? People were going crazy, submitting off-the-wall stuff like chocolate covered strawberry and margarita or some shit. Anyway, they narrowed it down to three flavors: Sriracha, Cheesy Garlic Bread, and Chicken and Waffles.
It became my mission in life to taste Chicken and Waffles flavored potato chips.
I’ve never actually tried chicken and waffles, mind you… but the idea of such a bizarrely flavored potato chip was disgustingly appealing to me. I had to have them.
Every time I went to the store I made sure to check the chip aisle… And every time I was disappointed. It seems the Super Great Potato Chip Flavor contest just wasn’t going to make it to my little town.
I continued to hope, and I drove the BF crazy about it. He would decide to run into town for something, and as he walked out the door I’d be yelling “LOOK FOR THE CHICKEN AND WAFFLES CHIPS!”
I’m sure he loved it.
At some point, a winner was announced (I think it was the garlic bread flavor). I heard about it on the news one morning, and the anchors talked about how the other flavors wouldn’t be sold anymore. I was heartbroken. Suddenly, my trips to the store had no purpose, no sparkle. Oh sure, I got the necessary groceries…but the anticipation of finally finding my treasured chips was gone.
Last Friday evening the BF and I loaded the boy into the car and took a nice little family outing…to Wal-Mart. We grabbed diapers and wipes, then headed over to the grocery section to grab something for dinner. After getting turkey, ham, cheese, and focaccia bread for sandwiches, the BF wanted some chips. We were in the middle of a conversation as we turned into the chip aisle, but I have no idea what we were talking about because there in front if me were bags and bags of chicken and waffle flavor potato chips. Just sitting there on the shelf like they’d been there all along.
Seriously, I think I heard angels sing. I’m sure The BF was so thrilled to watch me practically skip over to them and grab a bag…And then hold it up at him like a trophy.
“Oh thank God,” he said, “Maybe now you’ll stop talking about them…you’ve only been yakking about those damn chips for the last year…”
Well I don’t think it’s been quite that long.
So when we got home, the BF set to making us some killer ham and turkey sammiches while I took the boy upstairs and put him to bed. I made him promise not to open my bag of chips (“I’m not eating those nasty things!” He said. Pssshhhh…) while I took care of the boy. About five minutes later, I was back in the kitchen.The BF grabbed the bag and started to rip it open.
BF: … ?
Me: Well you don’t just chug a glass of fine wine, right? Give me that bag.
I carefully opened it, then (just like with wine) I gave the bag a little shake to distribute the flavor and stuck my nose down in there. After a big ol’ whiff I declared the smell pretty awful. Finally, the moment I was waiting for had arrived. I selected a chip from the bag and popped it into my mouth.
The BF finally admitted he was curious enough and took a chip for himself…
I thought they were disgustingly delicious. They tasted a lot like maple syrup and chicken bouillon…so gross, but also very tasty. The BF said they were nasty. More for me!
I’m not proud to say this, but I ate half of the bag that evening. I won’t be doing that again, ever… I was so miserable that night that I couldn’t sleep. I so rarely have heartburn but man… It totally kicked my ass. I don’t know how I used to eat junk food in a regular basis.
Well… I believe Chicken and Waffle chips are the toilet bowl cleanser of the potato chip world.