because behaving is boring

Monthly Archives: November 2013

…No, not the kind that result in a secret trip to the free clinic for some antibiotics and a stern lecture, guys. Get your minds out of the gutter.

Ok, and don’t be so embarrassed. We all did things in college that we aren’t proud of.

I’m talking about meatballs. Specifically, spicy meatballs that you can serve with spaghetti, or in a meatball sub, or in soup…The possibilities are almost endless. They can also be frozen once they’re baked, so I sometimes make extra just to toss ’em in the freezer.

I made these for spaghetti and meatballs. They give your typical meat or marinara sauce a spicy little kick.

Here’s what you need:

1 lb hot breakfast sausage
1lb ground beef (I use something lean, like 75/25 or even 90/10 if I can find it. The sausage has plenty of fat in it.)
1 egg
1/2 – 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 – 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
About 1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and lightly spray with nonstick spray (or use nonstick foil, if you have it).

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (use your hands to really get in there and squish everything together…I like to wear gloves). Start with 1/2 cup of both bread crumbs and cheese, then add more if you wish. Go easy with the salt, because the cheese and sausage both are already pretty salty. I actually didn’t add any salt and they were very good.

Roll into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet in a single layer, evenly spaced. Bake for about 40 minutes or until no longer pink in the middle. I usually just cut the biggest one open to make sure.

Remove the meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate while you make your sauce. I served these with a pretty typical meat sauce… Yes, that’s a lot of beef, but that’s how the BF likes it.

Once you’ve put the sauce together, add the meatballs and let everything simmer together on low for as long as you can stand it.

Serve with crusty, cheesy garlic bread.

image

image

image

Spicy and delicious. Plus, no turkey. What’s not to love?


You would think I would be posting some Thanksgiving recipes like all of the well-behaved food bloggers. Perhaps some kind of DIY centerpiece using toilet paper rolls and plastic wrap…But honestly, that all involves planning ahead and being prepared. I am good at neither.

Consider this post for my Canadian friends, who have already been-there-done-that with Thanksgiving… Or for my readers in countries that don’t observe Turkey Day… Or for my Thanksgiving-celebrating readers that, on the third day of leftover sandwiches, will declare that they never want to see another turkey leg so long as they live…

There is no turkey in this recipe. Plus, it’s super easy.

You’ll need:

Cubed steak (I used 1 for each person, so you may need to increase the amounts if you’re serving more than 2 people.)

1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes

1 box (32 oz, I believe) low-sodium beef broth

About 1/2 medium onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

Dash worcestershire sauce

Dash Kitchen Boquet

Salt and pepper

8 small to medium-ish red potatoes, scrubbed and left whole

1/4 cup cool water

2-3 tablespoons corn starch

Butter

Milk

Any additional herbs or spices you want to toss in there

Season the cube steak with a little salt and pepper on both sides.

Line your slow cooker with a turkey bag (it makes cleanup a million times easier), turn it on high, and place the cubed steaks in the bottom. Try to keep them in a single layer, but some overlap probably won’t hurt. Don’t worry if they’re still frozen… Those little hockey pucks will still turn into delicious dinner.

Dump the can of tomatoes, beef broth, onions, garlic, worcestershire sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, and any herbs or spices you’re using on top of the steaks. Stir a little, but don’t disturb the steaks on the bottom. Put the lid on that sucker and just let it go. I think mine was on high for at least 4 hours.

While it’s cooking, you could spend that time disposing of all of the Thanksgiving leftovers you don’t want…Like Great-Aunt Opal’s runny green bean casserole.

That gave me the barfy-shivers just thinking about it.

Ok, so after 4 hours or so, check on the meat. If it looks to be coming along nicely, go ahead and switch it to low, then place your potatoes in a single layer on top of everything. It’s totally fine if they’re submerged in the beefy juices… or if they’re just hanging out on top. They’ll cook either way. Put the lid back on and leave it, probably for another 3 hours.

When you’re just about ready to eat, check the taters by stabbing them with a knife or fork. If they’re done, remove them with a slotted spoon into another pot. Taste the broth and adjust your seasoning as needed.

Mix corn starch and cool water, then stir it into the juices in the crock pot. No need to remove the meat, just go easy on the stirring or it’ll fall apart. Once the thickener is combined, remove the lid and turn the crock pot off to let the gravy thicken up.

Smash up the taters with milk, butter, salt and pepper.

When the gravy has thickened to your liking, serve up a hunk of delicious, gravy-covered meat with some creamy, gravy covered taters. Maybe even throw in a side of corn and a biscuit.

image

This is super comforting on a cold day, and it’s practically guaranteed to dig you out of that post-Thanksgiving turkey rut.

****

I might not be around much for the rest of this week due to (obviously) the Thanksgiving holiday and a death in the family. Do me a favor and vote in the poll I posted at the end of this post.

Pretty please?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Unless you don’t celebrate and in that case… Enjoy the rest of your week!


I don’t know about you guys, but after hosting an event (like, a birthday party) I just don’t have the desire to spend any more time in the kitchen. The Sunday after the boy’s birthday, I managed to talk the BF into a rare dinner in town. Monday night we ended up eating some party leftovers on paper plates… But by Tuesday, I knew I’d need to do something that resembled cooking.

But I really, really didn’t want to.

Around 4ish I forced myself into the kitchen and dug around in the freezer until I produced a package of pork chops. I had some red potatoes and leftover diced onion in the fridge, and the BF had brought home some apples. There was a random container of Stove Top stuffing in the pantry (I’m not totally sure how it got there)…So I formulated a plan and got to work. The result was surprisingly delicious and incredibly easy. Stuffed pork chops over potato apple hash, anyone? Yeah, you definitely want to make this.

 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and assemble the following:

4 boneless pork chops

Prepared Stove Top stuffing (follow package directions for 2 servings)

3-4 red potatoes, scrubbed and diced (but not peeled)

1 medium red apple, diced (not peeled)

About 1/2 of a medium to large onion, diced

3-4 slices cooked and crumbled bacon (if you have it, which I did not. SAD FACE)

Celery salt

Cajun seasoning

Salt and pepper

First, spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray. Potatoes, apple, onion, and bacon go into the bottom in an even layer. Sprinkle a little celery salt, cajun seasoning, and black pepper over this layer (if you’re using bacon, you may want to omit some or ALL of the salt).

Pound each pork chop to about 1/4 inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Put 1/4 of the prepared stuffing in the center of each pork chop, then roll the chop around the filling and secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle seasonings on the outside of each stuffed chop. Place chops on top of potato and apple layer, cover with aluminum foil, and pop ’em into the oven for 35 minutes.

The pork chops are done when a meat thermometer says 160 degrees. Feel free to remove the foil during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking to let the tops of the chops and potatoes brown a little bit.

Guess who was a bad food blogger and didn’t take a picture? Yeah, this girl right here. I can say that it was a pretty big hit… The BF ate THREE pork chops and kept going back for more of the hash. I cut one of the chops in half and shared with O (because I’m a giver), who seemed to like it enough that he ate all but a couple of potato chunks. I don’t think he’s realized that he can eat a meal without throwing some of it on the floor.

No picture of the chops, so here’s a picture of the stuffing mix instead.

Ok, lets pretend that I gracefully transitioned into what I would like to talk about next, because I just don’t have a good segue right now.

Please vote… I’m working on a new post that might or might not have something to do with a previously mentioned giveaway.

I’m so bad at surprises.

 

 

 

 


So the boy’s first birthday was Saturday.

I think the party was a success. Good lord, I hope the party was a success. I think I have bald spots from pulling my hair out over details that, truth be told, people probably didn’t even notice.

image

image
image

The monster pops were a huge hit.

image

Part of the spread

Everyone loved the food… Ham, pork loin, roasted chicken, sandwich fixins, broccoli salad, potato salad, cole slaw, pickles and olives, cocktail weenies, party meatballs… We even made green punch with lime sherbet and ginger ale.

image

We made about 144 cupcakes. By the end of the day on Friday, I didn’t want to even look at another cupcake.

Ok, not true. I just ate a cupcake.

image

Then there was, of course, the cake. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of this cake. Not sure that I’m a fan of the garbage can lid, though.

image

The boy had a blast. I think he really enjoyed smashing the cake once he figured out what to do.

This party wouldn’t have happened without help, of course. The BF’s mom and my parents were kind enough to give up a Friday to help me with food and general party prep. I can be a bit of a Nazi about stuff when getting ready for something big, so they all get big props for putting up with me.


I love my readers. I mean, seriously.

I haven’t posted much because I was so busy pulling my hair out planning the boy’s big first birthday. I’ve also been horrible about checking my blog’s email account. I just checked it and there were a handful of emails just asking if I made it through the storms ok.

That warms my heart, y’all.

Luckily, we live in an area that didn’t see the worst of what Sunday’s storms had to offer. Oh, sure, we had some minor damage… but the house is still standing.

image

image

image

image

It did get a bit scary for a minute. I already had the diaper bag next to the basement door, along with our jackets and a blanket…And I made sure to put jeans and tennis shoes on.

…Look, I don’t think I want to be interviewed by channel 6 news wearing my snowflake pajama pants…

Anyway, I was prepared.

The BF and I spent most of the time watching the storm while O played with his new toys in the living room. At one point it was pouring buckets in the back yard, but dry as a bone in the front yard. I was about to comment on how strange it was when The BF calmly walked by me, scooped up the boy, and went to the basement. I looked out the back door and immediately saw why. The rain and hail was coming down sideways, making it impossible to see. I could hear stuff bouncing off of the house and thought the basement might be a good place to be.

We were only down there for ten minutes before I felt the need to investigate and found blue skies and pretty minimal damage outside. We were incredibly lucky, because the same storm produced a tornado about 20 miles east of us.

I’ve written before about a previous tornado experience that quite literally blew the BF’s old house away… So we’re no strangers to what a tornado can do. My heart goes out to the people hardest hit by Sunday’s strange weather.

So to answer the emails I got… No, I am not posting from Oz. We made it through safe and sound.

Thanks for thinking of me, guys.


Sorry I haven’t been around much lately… it seems that planning the boy’s first birthday party has taken up all of the available real estate in my brain. I kid you not, I woke up at four a.m. yesterday morning because I suddenly remembered that I needed to find the charging cable for our video camera.

It doesn’t help that we’re supposed to get snow this evening. The forecast says tonight it will snow a little and the roads might be icy tomorrow morning, but after that it will warm back up to the 50’s by the weekend.

Except I heard:

THE SNOWSTORM OF THE CENTURY IS COMING! YOU CAN FORGET ABOUT A BIRTHDAY PARTY BECAUSE YOUR HOUSE WILL BE UNDER A FOOT OF SNOW AND ICE ALL WEEK.

Here we’re having snow and I can’t even be a proper Hoosier and make my buy all the eggs, bread, and milk! Wal-Mart trip today because I’ve got too much going on.

Disgraceful.

I hope I can get back to a more normal posting schedule as soon as things calm down… I have some exciting things planned, including a giveaway that I kind of want to keep for myself.

Here’s a hint: It has to do with food.

Aren’t you excited?! WELL YOU SHOULD BE.

What’s something you wish you had done for your kid’s first birthday?

Something I shouldn’t worry about?

image

Here’s a picture of a chicken and a llama that has nothing to do with anything.


As I mentioned in my previous post, the Halloween festivities in my area were postponed until Friday because of the weather. Instead of trick-or-treating on Thursday, we ended up going to Goodwill and Wal-Mart to get what I needed for my costume.

I told you, I do everything at the last minute.

Friday, the downtown area merchants hosted a costume contest for the kids, as well as trick-or-treating along Main Street. I had put a lot of work into the boy’s costume, so I was pretty excited to show him off in it.

image

image

image

image

image

I was so proud when I they announced that he had won first prize for his age group! He even made the front page of one of our local newspapers on Saturday. I was so excited that I bought four copies.

After the contest, the BF and I took O to visit a handful of people… But we decided against doing any real trick-or-treating, much to the BF’s chagrin.

On Saturday, the BF and I had our own Halloween excitement to get ready for.

image

image

image

image

I have to say, I haven’t had such a fun Halloween in a very, very long time. I loved making O’s costume and seeing his reaction to all of the other costumes… And we had a blast at the party we went to as Al and Peg Bundy. I’m almost sad it’s all over. Now what am I going to look forward to?

Well yes, O’s first birthday is in a couple of weeks…

And of course Thanksgiving is soon after that…

And there are only how many days left until Christmas?!

Oh boy.

How did you celebrate Halloween?



%d bloggers like this: