I do have standards, you know…

Here’s one thing I won’t eat: Brussel Sprouts.

I never really remember having to eat brussel sprouts when I was growing up. I know that my mom planted them in the garden one year, but I don’t remember ever actually eating them. I do know that she never grew them after that.

A few years ago I figured out why. AJ and I were in the grocery store trying to think of an interesting vegetable to pair with a steak, (new york strip for those of you who wonder about that sort of thing) and we came across Brussel Sprouts.

“Have you ever had Brussel Sprouts? I haven’t.”

“No, I wonder what they taste like…a cabbage maybe?”

We took a whole bag of those cute tiny cabbages home, steamed them to perfection and served them with butter and seasonings alongside our steak.

First bite: Involuntary gag.

Second bite: dutiful chewing.

Third bite: spat into the napkin.

Here’s what I’ve always wondered since then; is there a scenario where brussel sprouts taste good? All you vegetable-haters can keep your comments to yourselves here–I love vegetables in all shapes and sizes…except small, round, green, and leafy.

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Say Wha?

Yes, I actually meant to type “wha” instead of “what”. It’s for dramatic effect. That however, is probably not the reason a local home daycare posted the following sign out by the side of a busy street.

“BLOOMING YOUGSTERS”

Try as I might, I can see no dramatic effect achieved by eliminating the “N” in “youngsters”. The best part? Someone obviously spent a lot of time and energy making this sign. Seriously, there was a lot of work put into this sign. Sadly, real life doesn’t have a spell-check button.

As I told my sister earlier, sometimes when you’re an adult and you go into the kitchen to make something for dinner and you have hardly anything to choose from, you end up making some pretty weird stuff. Case in point: tonight’s dinner was “Porcupine Hash”. Yes, I just made that name up. Yes, I know it’s brilliant, and yes, it is already copyrighted.

Here’s what I did. (When you have a $150 food budget for the month and you don’t use food banks or anything else, you get creative).

1 can tomato soup

1/2 jar leftover spaghetti sauce

3 cups cooked brown rice (short grain)

about the same amount of raw hamburger meat

a little water to rinse the leftover pasta sauce into the casserole dish

4 or 5 carrots, diced and peeled (but not in that order)

1 can of white great northern beans

Dump everything except the hamburger meat into a casserole dish and mix together. season to taste with salt, pepper, chipotle seasoning, seasoning salts, etc. add hamburger and mix well. cover with foil and bake at 350 for at least an hour.

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bread and the mystery thereof

This is for Amanda.

The recipe for the pizza crust was pretty basic. I’m almost pretty sure I remember it. I could go downstairs and get the recipe book, but….i’m upstairs, and i’m tired, and a little lazy, so.

Mix in a ceramic or glass bowl. Never metal. don’t ask me why.

1 package yeast

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup white flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2ish cup of sugar (not too sure)

1/4 ish cup of oil. I use olive oil for a nice flavor. wheat flour has a ton of flavor, but if you decide to use all white flour then definitely use olive oil

boil water

pour 1/2 cup milk into a 1 cup measuring cup

top it off with hot water, so that the mixture equals 1 full cup and is very warm (not hot)

mix everything together with care to avoid tearing those delicate strands of gluten that are just going nuts right now.

knead for five minutesish (add more white/wheat flour if the dough is so sticky that you can’t knead it, I prefer white for kneading)

let rise in a warm place for an hour

punch down and form into pizza dough or rolls, or cinnamon rolls, or sticky buns, or a loaf, or cinnamon raisin bread, or something else delicious.

2 Things That May Or May Not Matter To You At All.

1. when using wheat flour as a substitute in a recipe, use approximately 3/4 cup instead of a whole cup. As i did with this recipe, you can vary the percentages of wheat/white flour to suit your taste. Wheat flour is typically heavier and requires a bit more care in bread making, but the flavor is worth it. I like to add a little white flour to make the bread turn out nicer without fully sacrificing the value of whole grain and flavor.

2. for grilled pizza crusts, the dough needs to be incredibly dripping in oil (olive if you have it). take a cookie sheet, put about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom and begin the process of rolling/hand-stretching it out. you can roll it only so much because the dough just slides around the cookie sheet. be gentle so you don’t tear the dough. grill on a medium hot grill with the oilier side down for a few minutes until it looks golden brown with nice grill marks on the bottom. flip it using tongs and an oven mitt, but first oil the second side so it won’t stick. as soon as it flips, put all your ingredients on.

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not my problem

Violet just discovered that AJ has armpit hair and is very intent on investigating further.

here’s what I had for dinner…because you care.

1 slice wheat bread

1 slice potato bread

mayo (not…never miracle whip)

mustard

mashed avocado

tomato slices

lettuce

roast beef

bacon

salami

havarti

red onion

…compile….key word being pile.

there is no bad combination of quality meats, cheeses and vegetables on a sandwich.

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I hate spiders

pretty much

so, yeah….

we spent the afternoon and evening working on our patio/buying supplies for said patio, so we had a marinara chicken sandwich for dinner. Easy squeezy.

  1. cook breaded chicken tenders in oven till crispy.
  2. slice white cheddar or mozzarella onto a hamburger bun
  3. place chicken on hot bun.
  4. cover with hot marinara or spaghetti sauce.
  5. cover with top bun.
  6. eat

I know, it’s basically like eating fast food at home except they don’t pee in the pickles. 

Illegal Things I Did Today:

  • forged a signature
  • drove over the speed limit
  • used a cell phone while driving
  • ate while driving
  • dumped my extra patio dirt in the back of the park in outside my fence. when I say “dumped” i mean, “had AJ dump”

That’s me…livin’ on the edge, outta control!

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random

Violet has a booster seat/highchair now, so she sits at the table with us during dinner. I made her some spinach/banana/rice cereal stuff.  Tonight we all held hands and prayed before the meal; AJ’s big hands, Violet’s tiny chubby hands, and my medium-sized hands. The first of many.

I bought paint today. So excited. The guest bathroom is going to be blueishy, Violets room is going to be winnie-the-poo-y, the hallways are going to be creamy goldish, and the master bath is going to be a lighter green version of our bedroom walls. Now I am looking for some glass tile pieces to glue to the mirrors for a faux frame.

Violet stayed in the nursery the whole time we were at MOPS today (Yay). Thats because I told them not to try changing her diaper and also there were new toys. When I came to get her, several of the babies were crying but she was just sitting there…playing with her new toy and watching them.

side note: is it wrong that it totally makes my day to see people I know driving crappy cars too?

FYI: be on the lookout–we are trying to think up an outrageous story to email Dave Ramsey so he’ll read it on the air. any ideas? (am 630, 4-7pm)

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5 Great Things About Today

1. AJ and Violet took a nap together this afternoon, and I got some cute pictures.

2. AJ found a booster seat highchair on craigslist for Violet that I’m going to go get tomorrow. $5!

3. I finally “decided” what colors to paint the upstairs. Soft gold and creamy yellow–same color, two different shades.

4. We had friends over for dinner and Violet had a little friend to play with all evening. Yay for card games!

5. AJ cleaned the bathroom (I hate cleaning the bathroom).

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Words cannot express…

how much I anticipate the arrival of the greatest film of the year, perhaps the decade…nay, the century. Here It Is. This is a must-see–for everyone.

Anyway. You should seriously watch that preview, it’s…interesting.

It’s official–AJ is sickish too now, so today I made a huge pot of chicken soup. I always make it from scratch (like a whole chicken, and no pun intended). I put olives, mayo, radishes, and brussel sprouts in a pot and just cook that sucker up! Actually no, that would be disgusting. What I actually put in my chicken soup is a little more orthodox; carrots, onion, celery, garlic, cilantro, my secret seasoning mix, and of course, chicken.

Step 1: boil whole chicken in pot with salted water. (this time i added chipotle seasoning)

Step 2: debone chicken. Place all meat in fridge and throw away skin, bones and everything else. This of course assumes, that I threw out the nasty stuff inside in the first place like the kidneys and heart.

Step 3: Here’s hoping you haven’t thrown out the broth from step 2. Chop up all vegetables. Add them in the order of how long they need to cook: carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, garlic, cilantro. Sometimes I also add other things like spinach, parsley, uncooked winter squash, sweet potatoes or yams, summer squash, whatever. I also prefer to use a garlic press instead of dicing it up.

Step 4: Add secret seasoning mix. (Salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper powder, dried red pepper seeds,dried herbs (italian seasoning, rosemary, basil) and anything else that looks interesting…chipotle seasoning, Mrs Dash, etc) Don’t make it so spicy that you can’t eat it, but enough so that your nose runs. That’s what napkins are for.

Step 4.5: Alternately, you may also add rice or pasta at this point–be careful, it gets really thick really fast.

Step 5: Add chicken to pot when vegetables are tender, not soft. Turn off heat.

I always cook everything at a boil. I know most recipes say words like “simmer” but if you stay in the kitchen and watch the pot, you dont have to worry about it boiling over. Honestly, by the time I finished putting the last vegetables in, it was almost ready. This recipe can make anywhere from 4-8 quarts of soup. This depends on several factors: the size of the chicken, how much vegetables you use, and how much water you use. This meal gets “tupperwared” and frozen for lunches, and quick dinners.

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Fine Dining

Tonight we went here for dinner. We normally don’t spend this much for dinner, and so in order to fully enjoy our dining experience, we may possibly have introduced a ton of new foods to Violet to keep her happy.

This is a baby who has only previously eaten a couple fruits, some veggies, rice, and oats.

Bread

Couscous

Kiwi

Mango

Green Beans

Strawberry.

Yes, that might make me a terrible parent.

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Ugly Food

I realized today how many of my own recipes make ugly, gross looking food that tastes amazing.  Case in point: for lunch I made Avocado Tuna Salad. Freaking amazing, but it resembles a grey-green chunky slime.

1/2 avocado mashed

1/2 tomato diced

1 can tuna drained

handful chopped cilantro

2 T lime juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

dash balsamic vinegar

2ish T. Mayo (NOT miracle whip)

Eat with corn chips.

Here’s why i don’t have a problem with eating ugly food. 1: its fun. 2. when you bring it to potlucks you get to bring it all home. Is that wrong?

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earthquake

at 5:25 this morning. not even kidding. It only lasted a second or so, which is boring, but i prefer boring when it comes to natural disasters.

Personal Soapbox Moment: Velveeta is not cheese, and should never be compared price-wise against tillamook medium cheddar…or any medium cheddar…or any cheese for that matter.

baby news: Violet ate cheerios this evening. her response? “Meh..”

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Dinner time

Here’s what’s cookin’:

“Spaghetti Spaghetti Squash”
serves 3-4
1 Spaghetti squash split in half lengthwise and the seeds scooped out.
1 can/jar of spaghetti sauce.
3 dashes of Parmesan cheese.

Cook the squash in the oven covered with foil at 350 till soft inside 1-2 hours. fluff with fork and remove from the rind into a pot.
Add 1-2 tablespoons butter while separating the “spaghetti” strands with a fork. Pour sauce over the top and heat on low on the stove top.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.

That’s what i’m making…this keeps really well too–making it ideal for dinner the night before and lunch the next day.
Serve with garlic bread and salad if you choose.

Mostly i can’t think of a whole lot to say for today’s post. Violet is learning to crawl (exciting!), she just barfed all over me, i’ve been home all day, etc.

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