Sunday, September 29, 2013

Happy Autumn, y'all!

As far as I'm concerned, October 1st is officially Halloween. But it's already Autumn and I am so very much in the spirit that it hurts. Tonight I'm making baked cinnamon apples using apples that I got from an orchard last weekend. I got the recipe here, and I'll let you know how it turns out.

If nothing else, it looked damn tasty when it went into the oven, and the house smells heavenly.

Now, I'm trying to hold back on going full on spooky Halloween house until at least Tuesday. But I had to do SOMETHING. So I put up some "candy corn" lights in the front window. It's not much, but it's enough to let the neighbors know that my crazy Halloween-obsessed self hasn't gone anywhere yet.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Halloween Party Prep

Halloween is by far my favorite time of the year. I love it. For me, Halloween isn't a single day about getting candy. It's a whole season of creating and creativity! Every year, my husband and I host a Halloween party and I can't wait for it to get here this year (only 39 days left!)

Whenever I see websites like this with adorable tablescapes like that over to the right... I really really want to emulate them. Does that make me a middle aged housewife? I hope not. I'm not ready for that.

But really, how cute does that look?! I'm going to try to make something like that this year. I'm going to go ahead and brain-dump here so I remember what I'm thinking for my Halloween party setup this year.

Dining room:
This is going to be the main area for food. I'm thinking I'd like to keep it black and orange, kind of like that picture up there. Hot foods, appetizers, snacks. No desserts.

This is the drink station. I'm sort of thinking a Halloween-glam, New Orleans voodoo, type of theme to the area. Sort of like what you see to the left, from this blog. Lots of glitter, glam, feathers, chandeliers.

What's nice is that these two stations won't totally clash with each other. We have an open floor plan in the house, so the kitchen and dining room pretty much open up into each other.

Last but not least...

The Basement:
I want to do the whole basement like a zombie apocalypse safe room. Quarantine signs. Biohazard tape. Yellow and black.

Oddly, I'm not seeing anyone that has done any sort of quarantine, zombie, or biohazard tablescapes for Halloween yet. Come on, bloggers! Zombies are SO 2013!!! Let's do this! I guess I'm on my own planning this area out. That's okay, I can do it. I know it. I'll be sure to post pictures as I craft and try out recipes.

Cheers, lovely monsters!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Story of Hope

There's an important part of every animal's life that most pet owners won't, or can't, think about - the end. When we adopt our new furry friends as cute kittens or puppies, we never think about what’s going to happen down the line. And if we do, it’s usually that image of our best friend with the salt and pepper muzzle finding a quiet place in the house and falling asleep for the last time. And while I hate to call the death of a best friend romantic, compared to the reality that we usually face, the ending I just described is a rare fairy tale.

One day, your best friend is going to change. Even though he was perfectly house trained his whole life, an accident is going to happen. And then another. And another. And then the accidents become more frequent than when he waits at the door for you let him out. While they do make doggie diapers, and I know people use them, those diapers don’t help when your pup can’t fetch the ball anymore because they’re falling down with every step they take. Or maybe it's asthma. Cancer. A brain tumor that causes them to switch between their usual self to a creature you've never met before. 

And yet, they live on. We watch, tears in our eyes, feeling helpless as our best friend of so many years starts to become nothing more than a shell of their former self. And this is where many people face a tough decision to make: what next?

Most people choose to endure. They continue on, cleaning up the messes, helping the dog up the stairs, hoping those tumors popping up all over his body aren’t hurting him. But there comes a point when it’s time to take a step back and ask yourself “Is my dog still alive because it’s the best for him? Or because I’m afraid to lose my best friend?” And it’s hard. I've lost a lot of pets over the years, and the worst are when you need to decide to put them down because although they might still be alive, they're not really living. There is no shame in giving your friend a dignified and humane last moment. Sit with them, stroke their ears. It’s over before they know it.

But then there are the owners that will decide “that’s it” and drop their friend off at the pound. After a decade of mutual love, many games of fetch, lots of treats, and lots of love – they aren’t cute anymore, they’re going on the carpet, and they can barely walk. Someone else’s problem now, right? Except that dog that you have just dropped off at the pound is probably not going to die with someone they love. They’re going to sit on a broken, moldy mattress, watching families come in looking for a friend and leave with a cute new puppy. Your dog is going to be alone. Your dog is going to cry at night because that warm comfy bed is just a memory, and he has no idea what he did to deserve this. And then after so long, if he has made it this far, he’s going to disappear into a back room. Maybe he’ll be put down by someone who cares. But he won’t be with his family. His final moments are going to be spent wondering what he did wrong.

Meet Hope. Hope was dropped off at a kill shelter at 12 years old with tumors the size of softballs on her legs, smaller tumors all over her body, and fleas. She had one owner her whole life. I cannot fathom what kind of person - and I use that term loosely - would do that to an animal they raised for over a decade. On seeing the picture above on a rescue site, my mother took action to help out this poor dog. And I couldn't be more proud of her, even though sometimes I think I need to remind her that she can't save everyone.

This is Hope just days later. In a home again. On a warm carpet. Being loved. Getting ear scratches and fresh water. Taking walks in a yard.

I wish I could say that Hope went on to live many more years, but Hope was put down last night on September 16th. Her sores were healing, her tumors didn't seem to be bothering her, and her fleas were gone. She seemed very happy. But something wasn't right - one moment she'd be happy and sweet, the next she'd be aggressive and attack.

The vet thinks a tumor was affecting her brain.

My mom did a good thing for Hope. She didn't die in a shelter's back room at the hands of someone who didn't want to be there. She didn't die thinking she was alone. She went to Rainbow Bridge knowing that she was loved.

And even though I'm glad she was able to go the way she did; she should not have needed to. Her previous owners should have stepped up, recognized the problems, and taken care of her themselves. Not abandon her.

If you can't afford - financially or emotionally - to take your pet to the end of its lifespan, you should never own an animal. Period.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Twitterpated with Yardwork

First, let me say I haven't felt as alive as I did this morning when I walked outside in the sun with a light mist going on. I was wearing flip flops, so the little blades of grass were tickling my toes, and everything just felt so... Incredible.

I love spring. I love the smells, the sounds, and temperature  It's the perfect time of year. But our house doesn't really have a lot of spots that are very outdoor friendly... So I really wanted to make it my goal to make some good outdoor spaces that we can use.

First up... We have this corner of the house that is just... Terrible. Everything about it. There's some trash, the AC unit and heating oil drum. But there's so much potential! It's a little nook that you can look out into from three different rooms in the house! 


Never mind the peeling paint... We'll have to fix that at a later time. But this is what I'm working with. My first thought was to get a lattice and some vines and create some sort of barrier between the world and the AC unit. Frankly, it didn't feel like it did that much. But I'm hoping that once the vines start really growing up and sprouting flowers that it'll look nice.

So what I think I'm going to do next is take some nice outdoor pots and find some pretty flowers to sort of bookend my vine situation. Not sure what to do along the long edge of that space just yet... Maybe a bench.

I also worked on this little fella' over the weekend. Meet the world's ugliest picnic table. It lived in our backyard since we bought the house. I have no idea how old it is, and it was fully covered with this ugly tearing tarp (you can still see it on the seat in the picture above). So we ripped all that off, and started spray-painting it. I know we should have sanded and primed it and done it the right way... But... Well... We just don't do things the right way sometimes. And after a few coats, it's starting to look a ton better. 

Have you ever seen cushions on picnic table seats? I feel like that would be really cool and comfortable. I also have this crazy idea of painting something on the top of the table... but I'm not sure what yet. We'll see!

I'll post more updates as we de-uglify our outdoor spaces!

Friday, April 5, 2013

On Being Midsized

I am a midsized woman.

This means that I wear anywhere from a L-2X depending on the store.

Everyone I know has a complaint about their body. And most of those people have complaints about how their body relates to clothing that typical stores carry. The plus sized girls can't find anything cute in their size. The stick-thin girls can't fill out the butt of their jeans. The big chested girls look too top-heavy. The small chested girls don't look top-heavy enough. And the petite girls that have to hem every damn thing they buy.

We all have issues. That is something we have in common.

But I want to take a moment to recognize the midsized women out there who may not always experience the common shopping dilemmas that other women face. Or may experience those, in addition to a plethora of unique experiences.

I don't know of many stores that do this, but DEB splits their store right down the middle. Plus size is off to one side, and non-plus size is off to the other. But what about me? I am sitting right on the line between plus size and non. The plus size items in this store are a little above my range. And the non items are a little below my range.


And then of course we've got stores out there that only cater to one size demographic, but have another store that carries similar clothing in higher sizes. Think Hot Topic and Torrid. This means that I have to go to not one, but TWO different stores with nearly identical items and face double the amount of "why don't they carry my size" than the average woman.

I am grateful to stores who carry plus size options because generally it's easier for me to take a plus size garment and get it altered than it is to add something to something that is too small. But I just wish the middle group wasn't forgotten so often.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

When things go horribly wrong

One of my cakes from 2008
Husband's birthday was last week, and like a good wifey I decided I'd make him a cake! When I was in high school and college, I made cakes all the time and they were always pretty tasty and beautiful.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of time to put the cake together for his Saturday evening birthday party, so I decided to stick with boxed mix and canned icing - not that that's a bad thing. I got white cake mix and added some almond extract (1 tsp per box), and got strawberry preserves to mix with the icing. It was fool-proof.

I even went out and got a brand new square cake pan. Everything was set. Saturday afternoon comes around, I mix up my cake mix and pour it in the greased pan. Little while later, cake was done. Let it cool for a few minutes, then came issue number one...

Cake was stuck.I finally got it out of the pan, but it was pretty damaged. Well, shit. That's okay. It's salvageable. No problem. I went ahead and cut the cake down the middle so I could put a nice thick layer of delicious strawberry icing in between the two pieces. No big problems yet. Iced the bottom half. No issues. Went to put the top half back on...

And it fell apart. It just crumbled.

That's okay. That's okay! I can just use icing to even it out...

Nope. Didn't work. It was awful. The icing was just making it crumble more and I had a major cakedown. I started crying, asked Husband what I could possibly do about it because it was so ugly and awful and I had already spent the money on the cake trying to make it. He tried his best to soothe me, but sometimes there's just nothing you can say.

And then I went crazy.

Just kidding. Sort of. I did go crazy, but I also had an epiphany. I could smash up this ugly horrible cake and make cake balls! I had never done it before, but I watched a friend make them once and it seemed pretty easy... I wasn't sure if my ratios were right at all (turns out the balls were a little moister than usually prepared due to too much icing).

Turns out it was fine. Rolled up the cake and icing into little balls, covered it with blue and green candy melts - which, by the way, I couldn't find a good way to do to get a smooth surface... Everyone loved them. I was surprised! But also happy my disaster didn't ruin the night.
My cake balls and some other snacks for the evening.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekend Challenge: Sunroom

Our sunroom has always been one of our most used, and yet most neglected, rooms in the home. Every party we host, the sunroom becomes the music and dancing center, and so it was important to us to keep the room open. On a daily basis, the sunroom has always been our cats' favorite place to lounge, and I have slowly been moving my crafting supplies into the room...

Step 1? Clear out everything.

Unfortunately, this room evolved into a space to store all of our wedding goodies until we found real homes for them. Cutting boards, picture frames, a deep fryer, glasses, car repair kits... A little bit of this, and a little bit of that.

Step 2 - deep cleaning. Something I learned - vinegar is a seriously badass cleaner. I have a spray bottle of 2 parts water, 1 part vinegar that I use as a general cleaner. The old owners of our home were smokers, and vinegar has done wonders.

Step 3 - My first rule when redoing a space is to only bring things back in that you want to live in that room. I know it sounds like common sense, but this is something that most people forget. And once you end up with a pile of stuff that doesn't fit in the space anymore, it becomes a lot easier to purge the items you don't need.

I'm really happy wit how the space turned out, even though a lot of the changes are temporary. We're going to need to drag everything out again to repair the walls and paint, but damn. Already a big difference.

And you see that horrible ugly light fixture? I'm so blessed to have an electrician for a husband... He put in a beautiful new light on a dimmer switch, which is going to be awesome for entertaining!

I found these pillows at Home Depot in the garden center, but they really helped me figure out my vision for this room. Once I do a little more and get the paint on the walls, I'll post another update!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Unique Unity

I really wanted to do a unity ceremony for our wedding, even though we aren't particularly religious. We looked at all of the usual ceremonies, but couldn't quite find anything that was "us." We liked the candles, but then again everyone does it. Everyone who doesn't do candles? Sand ceremony.
We had looked at hand-fasting (but apparently some people consider this evil), rose ceremonies (I really wanted something we could take home afterward), and all kinds of other things on Pinterest and wedding boards... But still nothing that stuck out at me.

Until one day I saw a pin like this one over to the left on Pinterest and had an "ah hah!" moment.

Finger print hearts!!! 

There were three things that I loved about this idea:
1. The symbolism.
2. It's really cheap to do.
3. We've never seen it before!

Our minister wrote the following for our ceremony before we did the ceremony:

Sarah and Ryan, this celebration today honors a commitment by the two of you to continue to share and grow as individuals and as a family, today and every day for the rest of your lives. Unity ceremonies involve a symbolic representation of the bringing together of the unique individuals you are into a new and beautiful whole. Here, you have chosen to use your fingerprints, which are unique and represent the differences in you that compliment each other so well. As you make a heart shape with your prints, it represents the bringing together of those unique and different qualities into a unified whole while retaining your individuality.

I loved it. It couldn't have been better! The only thing to remember if you do this unity ceremony is to keep wet wipes or hand sanitizer up with the ink so you don't get any on your white dress!

Oh... And PRACTICE! 

Thanks to Katie for the beautiful pictures!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pinterest Party: Harry Potter Theme

If you haven't heard of a Pinterest party, they're super easy to put together and a ton of fun! How often do you have a hundred recipes on your Pinterest and realize you will never have time to try them all? Host a Pinterest party with friends and you can knock out more than a few. I'm going to tell you how we do it, but feel free to tweak the steps to work for you.

1. Create a group board on pinterest. Ours is here. When anyone posts, I ask them to tag the pin with the date of the party.
2. Choose a craft and pin it to the board. Pick something that will amount to ~$10 per person - nothing too expensive or too cheap. Nothing too crazy either. Try to avoid anything that will require long drying times, a ton of prep, etc...
3. Ask everyone invited to the party to pin a recipe to the board - and don't forget to do it yourself, too! You could even pick a theme for your party (holidays, movies, etc). Everyone should prepare their recipe and bring it to the party.
4. Get the supplies for crafting and get everything setup for the guests. Collect $10 from each guest, repay yourself, and keep an envelope for next time if there's any leftovers.
5. Eat your delicious food and make crafts!!!

Sounds fun, right? 

Recently I hosted a Harry Potter Pinterest Party for some friends and I and I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes with you!

Our craft was making wands, so I had my dining room table setup with all the different materials needed. I got the idea for the craft from here and even though we aren't kids anymore, I think everyone had a lot of fun. Oh, I forgot to mention in the steps above... Make sure you get a bottle of wine (or two!) to share with the pinners! It makes it more fun, especially if you end up with a "nailed it" moment.

You can check my Pinterest board that I pinned above, but I want to take a moment to highlight my absolute favorite recipes that we tried. First of all, this is the BEST homemade butterbeer I have ever had in my life. The recipe is posted to the board, but check here because I think some of the text is cut off. 

Next up, I had a chance to make Mrs Weasley's Rock Cakes. Mine didn't look quite as good as the ones in the picture on the recipe, but they were really tasty and not too sweet! I would love to make these again sometime, because they were just so easy. I do want to point out that they expand A LOT, so make sure you leave plenty of room between them on the pan, and smaller globs of the dough are better.

I'm not sure what we'll do for our next Pinterest Party, but if you have any theme ideas please post them here! Maybe something related to spring... Who knows!

Day Off Challenge: Living Room

I have today off for Presidents' Day, but Husband had to go into work, so I figured I'd contribute something worthwhile to society. Now, I'm not going to lie and say that I got up early and got to work right away... 

No, I snoozed my alarm several times. Watched some My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and had some snacks. (Healthy snacks, mind you - a huge bowl of various fruits!)

But all was not lost! I totally got up off the couch and did some productive things! My main project for the day, after figuring out how to get Pandora running on the PS3, was cleaning the living room. Believe it or not, this state posted below is actually not *too* bad compared to how it's been... But either way, it needed to be unfucked.

Just in case you couldn't tell where the problem areas were... Well, I highlighted them. Ahem.

So let me break down what I did to tackle this project step-by-step. This is for all of you that seriously hate cleaning. If you're a veteran cleaner/organizer, I promise you won't learn anything from me. Not on this post, anyway.

Step 1: Music. Put on your favorite motivational music. I like the Summer Hits of the 90s genre station on Pandora. Whatever gets you up and moving! 

Step 2: Dishes. Remove ALL dishes from the room and put them in the sink (or better yet, dishwasher).

Step 3: Couch. I cleared everything off the couch, fluffed it, febreezed it, and then neatly returned the pillows to their home. Always start by giving yourself a clean, comfy area to sit so that way you have somewhere comfortable to hang out and tackle that pile of papers that you've been meaning to go through but just haven't had the time...

Step 4: Coffee table. Our coffee table is where everything in the world lives, and it gets cluttered very quickly. Remove EVERYTHING from it (inside, outside, on top, etc) and move it somewhere else. Now clean the table. Noooow, you can slowly move things back. But keep in mind: does this item have a better home than the coffee table? If so, put it in its better home!! If you're lucky, you'll end up with a nice clean coffee table with nothing on it... Maybe now's a good time to find a new candle to burn. :3

Step 5: Floor. Same as everything else... Pick up everything and move it elsewhere. Then go through it. Find homes or trash it. This is a good time to vacuum, unless you still have a lot of surfaces to tackle. 

Nope, still not done. but here's my in-progress shot. I still need to tackle a few surfaces and then attack it with the carpet shampooer. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

How To: Pokemon Party

GIRL! How many times must I tell you?!
To have a successful Pokemon Party, you need to have a couple of elements. First of all, no party is complete without a delicious menu. And of course a Pokemon Party is no different...

On our menu was stuffed Pidgey burgers, pulled Piginite tacos, mesquite style BBQ Spearow balls, Moon Stone cookies, Krustle brownies, Bulbasaur salad, Pokemon jell-o shots, and various themed mixed drinks courtesy of The Drunken Moogle. I can't wait to have another one of these parties so we can figure out some more recipes to try. I know eating Pokemon is wrong, but I like to think that no Pokemon were harmed in the making of this party.

Lori with a jell-o shot.
We started up the evening by watching Pokemon: The First Movie. I think that without the beligerent comments throughout the whole film, I would have definitely cried during that final battle scene... Still a beautiful movie. Maybe it's just the nostalgia talking, but you can't help but love the story of Mew and Mewtwo. 

One of my favorite elements to themed parties is making everyone encouraging my beautiful and wonderful friends to dress up. I love Halloween, so any time I can add that element to other areas of my life is a win for me! So we had a few different Pikachu hats, a homemade Mew hat courtesy of a friend of mine, and an Ash Ketchum inspired hat. I can't even remember what shirts everyone was wearing, but they were, of course, Pokemon inspired.

If you're thinking this is the nerdiest thing you've read all day... You should have heard the conversations during the movies about the propulsion systems of Staryus and gendered versus genderless legendary Pokemon. I wish I could remember more of the debates we had, but I just can't. If I think of any, maybe I'll write a post and we can get some Pokedebates up in this blog.

That's a Wartortle mixed drink.

The Accidental Superbowl Party

Getting the beer ready while we wait for
the cable to come back...

I know I'm a week late in posting this, but I think it's important enough and will continue to be relevant enough to touch on.

My husband and I differ in our definitions of clean. I have a lot of house pride, and he... Can tolerate mess. Now, I definitely don't think I'm one of those crazy women that has to have a model home at all times. The dishes in the sink right now imply otherwise. But I like to keep the house at a certain level, and here's a real world lesson in why...

We were invited to a Superbowl party last weekend. We showed up about a half hour before kickoff and noticed immediately that everyone was sitting around a TV with a "no signal" message floating around the screen.

"So uh... What's up?"

Comcast was having an outage. During the Superbowl.

Stephanie's football whoopie pies! (Delicious!)
Yep... So that was interesting. After waiting a bit for things to clear up, and the game starting in the meantime... We needed to think of a plan B. Few people suggested some local bars, but with all the drinks and food that had been prepared, that wasn't really an option.

"Well, you can all come back to my house...?" Only a slight cringe. We had vaccuumed... So that was something. But still, there were a few people that would be coming to my home that had never been. I hoped that the mess wouldn't be too bad. No tumbleweeds of cat fur in the kitchen. No weird stains on the carpet.

Send Husband ahead to double-check that the cable was fine. Of course, the Ravens got a touchdown as he called and that was enough to get everyone's butts in gear. We were only 10 minutes down the road, but we still had to transport a few crockpots and cookies.

So all in all - we had a good party. No one noticed that the house wasn't 100%. But it got me thinking... How many more times are we going to have accidental parties?

So I've heard about party boxes that people keep with all of the elements needed for a successful accidental party. Plates, cups, soda, maybe some games, snacks, etc...

If you have any tips for what you would keep in your party box... Post it here!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Meal Planning: 2/4/2013

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, everyone! Go Ravens!!!


Freezer Pizza (Book club night!)

Pulled pork sandwiches (Craft night!) Trying this.

Leftover pulled pork and mac & cheese (Scrapbook night!) Leftovers (hopefully??)

Freezer pizza (Hair appointment!)

Pidgey burgers and pulled Piginite (Pokemon party!)

Yeah, I know I'm doing pizza twice this week. I have a lot going on and won't have too much time to cook...

Culinary Adventure: No Sweat Meatloaf

This isn't so much an adventure as it is, well, just a recipe. I haven't figured out how to get the meatloaf to remain "loafy" when it's done.. Mine is more of a meatblob. But it's delicious anyway, so have at it. Recipe is modified from 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know:

Onion Mixture
Onion Mixture


    1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
    2. 1 yellow onion, diced
    3. 1 garlic clove, minced (I use Tastefully Simple's Garlic Garlic)
    4. 1 bay leaf
    5. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    6. 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    7. 1 pound lean ground beef
    8. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    9. 6 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
    10. 6 tablespoons ketchup
    11. 1.5 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  1. .25 teaspoon cayenne
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. .5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


You really gotta get dirty with this recipe... Make sure you
remove your rings!
  1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until the onion is tender - 6 minutes.
  3. Add parsley and thyme and stir for 5 minutes.
  4. Scrape onion mixture into a bowl and cool. Remove bay leaf.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the meat, egg, bread crumbs, 4 tablespoons ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, salt, pepper, and onion mixture. Blend with your hands. Stop blending as soon as it's all well combined.
  6. Form a loaf on the parchment paper (or you can use a 8x4 loaf pan). Coat with remaining ketchup. 
  7. Bake for 1 hour until thickest part is 165*F.
  8. Let rest for 10 minutes, then serve!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Culinary Adventure - "Blackened" chicken

I have found that any recipe with "basic" in the title ends up causing me some trouble. This one was no different. So I got this "basic sauteed chicken" recipe here and decided it would go well with some white rice. Healthy dinner to help lose all the weight gained from my cruise. Well, first of all - the rice didn't work out. Had some spaghetti and meatballs left over from my welcome-back dinner last night. Easy peasy - heat that up in the microwave, and have with the chicken. 

Well, the recipe was going well until the 4th minute or so on the second side of the chicken. That's when things got a little dark. And smokey. Lots of smoke. Everywhere. Husband was laughing at me. So I moved the chicken into the oven (the meat was fine, fortunately) and stared at my blackened pan...

Well.... Let's try the wine, anyway. NO! If you end up with a blackened pan, just don't do it! My eyes are still burning. Wasted my leftover wine (which I totally could have drank!) and ended up with the worst sauce looking mixture ever that went straight down the drain.

Oh well. Chicken was good with a little BBQ sauce. So there's that, at least.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Meal Planning - 1/27/2013

For those unaware, I spent the last two weeks on a cruise ship in the Caribbean for my honeymoon. It was seriously one of the best experiences of my life, and I'll be writing about it soon. But first I need to say - daaaamn the food. DAMN - food!!! Gonna try to learn some new, impressive dishes. I'll seriously miss that food.

Jambalaya (super easy Zatarain's mix.) Forgot my mom planned a welcome-home dinner.

Sauteed chicken and rice leftovers from Sunday

Make your own tacos (Recipe on El Paso boxes. Srsly easy, dudes.)

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

Pulled pork sandwiches and roasted butternut squash

Freezer pizza (because I probably won't even be home - planning to see Warm Bodies with my bestie.)

And now off to the store!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Culinary Adventure: Ermagerd Meeert Seeerce

So last night before I went to bed, I (really Husband) cooked up the meat and onions for this recipe. Got every other ingredient setup next to the crockpot so I could get it put together this morning before work... 

Get home tonight at 5:30 and...

Whole house smells delicious! So exciting! Gave it a little taste, and although it burnt the hell out of my tongue, it tasted as good as it smelled.

Boiling spaghetti is pretty easy, so this is a great meal for when you're feeling lazy... Assuming you've done all the hard work the night before. That said, the recipe on that blog makes a metric shitton... We're only two people, so we are going to have a lot of leftovers (even beyond my lunch tomorrow)... But maybe we can have it with the chicken tomorrow instead of veggies. Carnivore's diet.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Culinary Adventure: Broiler Burgers and Mashed Taters

My very first impression of meal planning is pleasant surprise. I got home from work today, knew exactly what I was going to have for dinner, and got started right away. No hum-hawing for an hour about "well do I want to cook" and "what do we have"... Nope - everything was ready and waiting.

I used modified version of two recipes from the book 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know. I love this book because it's hilarious, easy to follow, and has a lot of recipes I've tried and loved.

So first up we have my Broiler Burgers.

Obligatory Instagram food photo.


  1. 1 pound ground beef (80-20)
  2. Salt and pepper
  3. 1 tsp ground cumin
  4. 1 shallot finely chopped (I used half a large onion today and it was just as good)
  5. 2-4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  6. Pats of butter
  7. Cheese (optional)
  8. Hamburger buns lightly toasted (toasting the buns makes burgers 100% better)


  1. Mix meat with salt, pepper, cumin, shallot, and Worcestershire sauce. Do not warm meat.
  2. Divide into 2-4 balls and flatten.
  3. Create a depression in the tops of the burgers with your thumbs and add a pat of butter to each patty. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the broiler.
  5. Broil patties on a foil rimmed baking sheet for 7 minutes.
  6. Flip and broil for 4 or more minutes, depending on desired doneness.
Super easy and super delicious. This time, I put a little Montreal Steak seasoning on the burgers too. Experiment with what you think might add a little something!

With the burgers we had Mashed Taters. My grandmother used to complain about making mashed potatoes for as long as I can remember, and I don't understand why! I think she didn't like peeling potatoes, but I feel like they're super easy to make and *very* delicious.


  1. 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  2. Salt
  3. Somewhere between 1/2 to 1 cup of milk (I use lactose and fat free, you can use whatever)
  4. A ton of butter (I usually use about 1/4 of a stick, but the recipe calls for up to a stick)
  5. Nutmeg to taste
  6. Pepper


  1. Cover potatoes with cold water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook approximately 25 minutes.
  2. Drain potatoes and return to pot.
  3. Smash potatoes with potato smasher or giant awesome fork.
  4. Add milk (NOT ALL AT ONCE!) and butter.
  5. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Don't be afraid to taste it!!
We ate all the burgers, but I have leftover potatoes to bring to work tomorrow (and some leftover rice from yesterday, too...). You could definitely play with both of these recipes, too. Maybe add some cheese or garlic to the potatoes. Let me know what you try and how it goes!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Meal Planning - 1/7/2013

Okay, so... I'll admit that my usual trip to the supermarket happens when we start to get desperate. Out of milk, out of cereal, or out of cat litter. We don't typically plan out the week ahead, either. Sure we'll grab some frozen pizzas and eat them eventually, but that's about a close as it gets.

So my goal is to try this whole "weekly meal planning" thing that I see on so many of the home blogs I read. I guess this means I'll be cooking a little more... But oh well! I think I can do it!

  • Spaghetti with crockpot meatsauce (planned leftovers for wednesday lunch!) I got the recipe here.
  • Shake n Bake chicken, green beans
  • Sexy Porkchops, rice
  • Freezer pizza

Fortunately, I already have some stuff that I need to make these... But I will need to pick up a few extra things tonight.

Shopping list:
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1 shallot
  • Hamburger buns
  • 2 large onions
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 30 oz tomato sauce
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • Spaghetti noodles
  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • Green beans
  • 2 bone-in porkchops
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • Rice
  • Freezer pizza
Once I get around to cooking these various meals, I'll post pictures and full recipes. I'm excited to get started!