The one where I terrorize the neighborhood children

I really need to take pictures, and I probably will, but I’ve been using a product called Baby Foot that many are already familiar with. And yes, I should have used this back in May, but whatever…

I used this on Monday or Tuesday of last week. I can’t remember which day exactly, and yesterday was the day my feet finally started, um, showing signs that I’ve used it. Today, my daughter has one of her friends over, and I’m so tempted to start soaking my feet and unleash the horror. (I won’t spoil anything just now for those of you unfamiliar with what is going to be seen. I’ll let you Google it.)

Yes, I’m evil. Like… mustache-twirling Tom Hiddleston evil.

Continue reading “The one where I terrorize the neighborhood children”

Recipe: Black Friday Cottage Pie


While you’re enjoying your turkey or ham or venison or tofurkey or whatever you prepared this holiday, you’re probably wondering what in the holy hell you’re going to do with what’s left. Well, here’s what we do…

Black Friday is a bit of a tradition in my house, but not because of shopping. Oh, HELL no. We’re a family of people who don’t do well in large crowds. Black Friday is popular in our house because that’s the day I dump all of the Thanksgiving leftovers into one pot and make cottage pie. In fact, it’s probably looked forward to a lot more than the Turkey Day feast itself.

This started off as a recipe from Publix Aprons and an idea for St. Patrick’s Day. I just took that and modified it. You can view the original recipe here. It’s a good one.

A really good one.

And honestly… I don’t really measure when I do this, either. I just start dumping things into a casserole. I know about what I’m looking for, but here’s roughly what you’ll want from your Thanksgiving leftovers:

  • 2 cups chopped leftover turkey
  • 2 cups green bean casserole
  • a bag of shredded cheddar cheese
  • leftover mashed potatoes, enough to cover everything

Since you’re using leftovers here, you’ll notice I left out the seasoning. Chances are your turkey and green bean casserole are already seasoned just fine. You can also add some leftover vegetables to this. Go nuts. Mine is different every year.

Combine the first two ingredients and pack them into the bottom of a casserole dish. (If you used a little bit more than what I listed above, you’ll need a bigger casserole dish. Just eyeball it. Spread the mashed potatoes over everything in a thick layer to cover. Sprinkle cheese over the mashed potatoes. You’re probably not going to use the whole bag. Pop it into the oven on 350ºF for about 20-25 minutes or until everything is heated through. Ta-da!

By the way, the sprouts recipe above goes really well with this, but you can also just roast some up instead. I like to cut mine in half lengthwise, toss in a little sesame oil, salt, and pepper, and roast on 450ºF for about 15-18 minutes. There’s a lot less prep time and babysitting with this method than the stovetop method, but you’ve probably got more than enough sides at your fingertips after Thanksgiving without having to do anything else anyway.

Stir Fry Burgers

This experiment started last week when I tried out a new stir fry recipe. As we sat there eating and enjoying it, my husband turned to me and said, “This would make a really good burger.” So tonight we tried it.

I also learned that I need to replace my George Foreman grill, which is why I’m not posting any pictures. It wasn’t pretty. The good news is, it tasted amazing, and it’s so versatile, you can top it a number of ways. So I decided to share…

2 lbs. ground meat (your choice, if you’ve got a special mix you like to use)
4 scallions
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Sriracha
1/4 cup hoison sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce

Start by trimming the roots from your scallions and slicing them thinly. You can keep the dark greens for a garnish, but you pretty much aren’t going to need them for the purposes of this recipe. You only need the whites and light greens. Toss those and everything else listed above into a large bowl and mix with your hands before forming into eight patties. You might choose to add a touch of salt or pepper, but I found it wasn’t really needed due to the soy sauce.

Cook these however you like– broiled, grilled, whatever. Toast your buns and serve. We topped ours with grilled pineapple and plum sauce, but there are some other ways you can swing this:

  • sauteed onion and bell peppers
  • sauteed mushrooms, spinach and smoked provolone
  • slaw

Of course, you might have an idea of your own. I really don’t want to limit you here. You’re working with Asian flavors, so keep that in mind.

Dog Laundry and Tilapia Chowder

First, I need to get this out… OH MY GOD, THE SUN IS SHINING!!!

The dogs are giving me the stink eye, today, because I’m washing their blankets and beds. With all the rainy weather, they’d been getting extra stinky, and I walked into my office this morning and the smell nearly knocked me down. So yeah… Laundry time. I grabbed ALL of their bedding and did two loads. The two big cushiony beds can’t be tossed into the dryer (which is why I’m particularly thankful for the sun today), and they normally have blankets to cuddle up to on the couch and in their beds. So I walked into the living room and found this on the couch:

20151104_112726 20151104_112719

That is not a friendly look from Marcy, and Kato likes to pretend he’s freezing. And then I walked into my bedroom and found this:


Those are from Kato’s bed. I was trying to be nice and replace the half-chewed blankets in his bed with fresh and clean ones, but he was having none of it. He watched me put those in his bed and then promptly drug them both out and across the floor. Now he’s just staring at the washer and dryer waiting for it to be done.

Moving on…

Remember when I told you guys about Plated? Well, I made a lovely Pollock Chowder from them last week, but they sent me a whole bottle of clam juice, and I only used 1/4 cup of it in the recipe, so of course I decided I needed to make more. And of course with all the rain, it was nice to just cook up a big pot of chowder. When I duplicate Plated recipes, I’ll often make changes based on what I usually keep around the house or can easily find when I’m at Publix. Clam juice isn’t really one of those things, but it was sitting in my fridge, so it got used. So here’s what I used:

  • 2 medium onions (I used yellow, but if you prefer something else, go for it)
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 24 ounces white fish (I used tilapia)
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3-5 cups broth (you can also sub in a little clam juice or white wine)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Cut your onion and potato into a small dice and pull the leaves off of your thyme, discarding the large stems. Rinse your fish and pat it dry with a paper towel.

Heat your butter in a large pot (I use my 5-quart Dutch oven) over medium high heat. Once it’s melted and foamy, add your potatoes, onions and thyme. Let that cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Everything will start to get soft but won’t quite be cooked. That’s fine because it’s going to cook some more. Stir in flour until it’s combined (about 1 minute, maybe a little more). You’ll notice it takes on a sticky consistency, and that’s what you’re looking for. Add your liquid, stir, and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat back to medium and simmer for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

A quick note on the liquid. If I simply doubled the Plated recipe, I’d be using 1/2 cup clam juice, 1/2 cup white wine, and 4 cups of vegetable broth (5 cups liquid total). I wanted less liquid in mine, so I took out two cups of broth and used a full cup of the clam juice because I didn’t feel like opening a bottle of white wine (3 cups liquid total). If you prefer more liquid or if you think the chowder is too thick, add more liquid.

When your chowder is thickened, season your fish with salt and pepper and add to the pot. You might have to move some potatoes around, but make sure you’re getting the fish in the liquid. Don’t worry if it’s not in there all the way. The steam from the chowder will cook the fish that’s not boiled in the liquid. Cover it, increase heat back to medium high, and cook for about 7 minutes or until the fish is opaque and flaky. Uncover and stir in your cream and then break up your fish into large pieces. Serve with garlic bread.

I’m thinking I might do this again but add roast chicken to it instead of fish. You could probably skip adding meat to it at all if you like. Scallions and/or bacon would be good in this, too.