12.28.2011

The Best Of...

Don't you hate these stupid lists?

I do... and I'm doing one anyway. Mostly because it was fun looking back at this year and documenting how boring my life is. Sort of.

But still, let's take a look back at the top posts (and I post these in no particular order because, well, I've got 800+ posts on my blog since 2008 so...).

1. I'm the first person to invent the corkboard cabinet organizer inside the cabinet door. Seriously.

 Except other people have prettier pictures than mine and are now pinned like mad on Pinterest. Corkboard is awesome and this is where you can find my secret recipes, chinese take out menus and coupons. You get crafty when you live in an old house. I might even share more of my organizing ideas. If they work...

2. Baked Cumin Chicken with Asparagus and Potatoes. Smells delicious.

3. Hello Dolly Bars from earlier this month. Apparently they're a hit with crowds. Easy and delicious but I still can't bake like my grandmother which is really too bad. BUT I did receive Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas so BE PREPARED FOR THE JULIA CHILD GOODNESS TO COME IN 2012.

4. Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins. You can sub in any frozen fruit for blueberries and VOILA! Instant goodness. BTW, raspberries are fantastic too. And this is one of the handwritten recipes that I have hanging in my cupboard which I have memorized. Yup. Memorized.

5. And who can't live without a Rusty MONSTER post? Yes, he tests my patience; yes, he is most definitely a MONSTER but somehow... life would be SO BORING without him.

12.26.2011

In Love With A Chair

I LOVE THIS CHAIR.

Like a lot. Like enough that I would buy it and decorate a whole room around it.

I sit in it every.single.freaking.time I go to Restoration Hardware. I just can't help myself.

But mayday, we've got a problem. Not only is it out of our price range BUT IT'S TOO BIG FOR OUR HOUSE.

Yes, our teeny, tiny 1949 faux cape cod is just too freaking small for this chair. It would have to be the only chair in the living room.

And yet I love it anyway.

Maybe in a future house 20 - 30 years from now (do you think Restoration Hardware will still be making this chair???). Maybe when we don't have kids with sticky fingers and muddy dog paws.

But goodness gracious, doesn't this chair just make you want to curl up with a book, a hot toddy (ok, maybe a Jack & Coke or a nice LARGE glass of really good red wine) and a fake fur blanket in front of a fire while it's snowing outside?

A girl can dream...

12.25.2011

Hello Dolly Bars



I think that bars are a Midwestern thing. Most people 'round these parts know how to make a good bar.

I sort of do. I am unable to replicate my grandmother's Hello Dolly bars and I have no idea how she made them taste so good. And she also passed away a few years ago and I regret never asking her how she made them. I'm hoping that my mom has some secret stash of recipes somewhere...

P.S. You don't need to coat the pan in cooking spray or anything like that. These bars come out great with the amount of butter already in the "crust" part... I found out the hard way.

Hello Dolly Bars
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 cookie sheets)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch morsels
  • 2/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper; cut off excess parchment paper around top edge of pan.
  3. Place crumbs in a medium bowl. Drizzle with butter and 1 tablespoon water; toss with a fork until moist. Gently pat mixture into an even layer in pan (do not press firmly). Sprinkle chips and morsels over crumb mixture. Top evenly with coconut and pecans. Drizzle milk evenly over top. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly around edges. Cool completely on wire rack.
Note: They can create a sticky mess in the pan, so it's crucial to line it with parchment paper. Because the milk needs to seep into the graham cracker crumbs, don't pack the crumbs too tightly in the bottom of the pan.

12.23.2011

Roasted Squash With Brown Sugar


Squash... I can never get enough squash! If there is one vegetable that I can always eat no matter the season, it's squash.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut squash in half.

Scoop out the goop, seeds, etc...

Add in the center 1 spoonful of brown sugar (it can be a heaping spoonful).

Add 1 tbsp of butter.

Sprinkle with pepper and salt.

Sprinkle with a tiny bit of either nutmeg or clove.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

And yes, I LOVE my squash nice and soft - I don't like stringy squash, I don't like it one bit. So I'm sure I over cook it but man... this is my favorite way!

12.22.2011

My Chintzy Christmas Decor

You're going to laugh. I just know it. So you can start chuckling now...

I decided not to go all out decorating for Christmas this year. Partially because of the drywall, framing lumber, and metal brackets blocking the storage door in the basement and partially because I just hate taking down Christmas decorations.

So this was my solution this year:

I hung over sized ornaments from the dining room chandelier.
 And then eventually got out the mini Christmas tree. I still don't know exactly where I'm going to put it but whatever. Probably either keep it in the middle of the dining room table, put it on the bookcase in the dining room or put it on the bookcase in the living room. We shall see this afternoon.

But y'all should know something. I still have one ornament to hang up on the chandelier. But I can't hang it up until I'm done sewing the burp clothes (pictures in the lower right corner of the above photo) because I'm too lazy to re-thread my sewing machine. Ok, laugh now. I promise that I'm laughing with you!

Also, from the above picture you can see that I have a few things to do:

1. Clean the floors.

2. Give a bowl back to someone.

3. Eat my apple.

4. Take care of the dying paperwhites.

5. Put away packaging tape.

6. Clean off the dining room table so we can eat on Sunday.

Yikes, that's a big to-do list. Sort of. Ok, not really. Most of it isn't that bad. But it in any case... I wanted to show y'all my chintzy holiday decor. Maybe I will get more into it next year.

Pan Seared Oven Finished Steak

Mmmm... STEAK....

I'm also a HUGE fan of cast iron pans - not only are they super easy to clean (wipe, rinse, dry off), but the longer you have them and the more you use them the better your food tastes.

When you pick out steak, make sure it's a cut that you actually want to eat - and that it's nice and thick so you have some room for error when cooking (I tend to walk away or do dishes while cooking and forget how many minutes are left... OOPS). There's also carry over cooking, so if you pull steak off the pan or grill too quickly, tent it with tinfoil and let it rest for a few minutes longer than you normally would let it rest. No worries. I just don't like tough, chewy meat.

When I cook steak, I make it easy.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (I had baking to do, so it was preheated to 350). 

Season with salt, pepper, olive oil and if you want... seasoning. I decided to try some garlic and herb seasoning.

Heat your pan so it's nice and hot. Get some butter and oil in the pan - wait until that is nice and hot and gently set your steak in the pan.

DO NOT TOUCH IT.

But do open a window.

Let it sear on one side until it no longer sticks to the pan, about 5 minutes.

Flip. Sear for exactly 2 minutes.

Shove into oven.

Let finish for 8 - 12 minutes depending on how well you like it done.

I prefer medium rare - but I cooked this one on the medium well side.

It should be nice, still a little pink in the middle but the edges should be crispy and tender with nice sear marks.

DELISH. Now go make some steak.

12.20.2011

When Bimmer Man Is Away...

I can watch whatever I want on tv. YES!!! I'm so excited to either watch Gossip Girl or maybe have a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills night or maybe just watch... well... Bravo. Whatever.

And of course since it's the week of Christmas I need to clean, finish up some sewing projects so we can eat Christmas dinner at the dining room table, and um, maybe finish decorating??? HAHA. I didn't even put up a tree this year. I decided that a mini tree, over-sized ornaments and a small rug were more than enough.

Besides, Minnesota is having a brown Christmas this year.

West Elm emailed me today saying that the awesome rug shipping (excellent news!) and tomorrow I'm going to be sanding, priming and hopefully painting the trim white in the spare bedroom. Do I really want to paint the windows? No, but I will. They tilt in to wash, so hopefully I can figure out how to do it without another person so I can paint the actual windows instead of just the window trim (Um, yeah... I can be lazy...).

And then to Home Depot to hopefully color match the Benjamin Moore color that Bimmer and I picked out.

So... Merry Christmas week to everyone! Hopefully you get everything done before this weekend and hopefully I won't spill any paint!

12.13.2011

The Christmas Card Conundrum

I just realized something.

Not all of our friends are on facebook.

Yes, I did type that correctly. NOT ALL OF OUR FRIENDS ARE ON FACEBOOK.

And I don't ever send out photo Christmas cards. I like to buy the cards that benefit some charity - like the Unicef cards or something like that (but then when you read the fine print they generally say something like, "we donate up to 1 million dollars" and then you think to yourself, "YOU ASSHOLES. You're cheating the poor needy kids by only donating 1 million dollars!" I also have a tangent on the commercials for non-profits where they have celebrities begging for money for charity - dude, they make more the general public and they are part of the 1%, why don't they just donate their money instead of begging the regular people for  their money and save themselves on marketing? Screw making a commercial, the celebrities could probably PAY for the commercial. GAH).

And I don't type notes and stick them in the cards. I rarely type any sort of greeting except for "Merry Christmas, hope all is well" and then our names. And yes, Rusty is part of the family and yes, he does sign his own name every once in awhile. I did buy a special inkpad for dog paws for one year.

I really don't give out much information about us. At all.

In fact, if I got one of our Christmas cards in the mail, I'd probably think, "If they aren't going to tell us a freakin' story about themselves, why bother sending one at all?"

And then I remember why I do it.

Because it's pretty fun. And I like receiving cards so I feel like I should send them out because other people like getting Christmas cards too. I like to share the Christmas card love.

But I digress.

Not everyone knows that I'm pregnant. I guess I don't advertise well enough. But it's not like I want to rent a billboard or anything like that.

And a few days ago we got a Christmas card from a couple that moved to a different state and they had a little note typed up with all of their news from the year (their lovely dog is 2, they bought a house, they went on vacation). THESE ARE THE PEOPLE NOT ON FACEBOOK.

And I had already sent their card out.

"MERRY CHRISTMAS. HOPE ALL IS WELL. LOVE, MCTATTY, BIMMER MAN & RUSTY THE DOG"

Maybe next year we'll do a photo card.

Hopefully they won't think that we just took some random baby off the street to put in our Christmas card photo.

12.12.2011

Open Letter to My Dog, The Asshole

Dear Rusty,

Not only is it gross that you eat rabbit poop, but it's disgusting that you grab your stuff-less rabbit and then gum it for 30 minutes and try and shove it in my lap to get attention. I really wish there was a doggie mouthwash.

Also, when I whistle you are normally very obedient and come when called from outside to the door, but this rabbit poop thing that you've got going on, I don't get it. And don't pretend that you don't hear me, I see you with your muzzle on the ground, I see you snacking away... BUT I BUY YOU RABBIT TO EAT. Real rabbit. Real rabbit MEAT. NOT FREE POOP FROM THE BACKYARD.

So please, do not eat it.

Love,

McTatty

P.S. Also, the security measures that I go through at Swanson Meats on Raws for Paws pick-up days is ridiculous enough that you really shouldn't be eating poop.

P.P.S. Buck, you reminded me of how often my dog is an asshole at the Holiday party on Saturday night and how much I don't share with people how much of an asshole my dog is even though when people meet Rusty they think he's the best dog ever. I promise, I will share more awesome stories and hopefully make you laugh more.

12.11.2011

5 Awesome Reasons to Own a Dog

1. You can blame all unwanted bodily functions on the dog so when the dog really does fart, you remember exactly why you CAN blame bodily functions on the dog.

2. Your shit disappears. Again, just blame it on the dog. Somehow I'm still missing a shoe from a few weeks ago and I can't find it. I remember leaving it at the bottom of the stairs... BUT NOW IT'S GONE. Maybe we really have a ghost?

3. Free entertainment. Watching a retriever shake a fake goose to kill it is pretty funny. But not when he does it in the living room in front of your big screen tv and it's come flying loose a few times. Same with a Kong Wubba. Not only has he snuck it into the house on occasion, but I'm pretty sure he does it to piss me off on purpose every once in awhile. See here:




4. It's fun to share snacks. Like apples, bananas, raspberries, strawberries, carrots, etc... If I suddenly don't feel like eating healthy, I can just give it to the dog. That way he's eating healthy, right? Plus it's also hilarious watching a dog try and eat an apple. And a carrot if they've never done so before.

5. The best part: morning snuggles. And NOT being hit in the face with a very large paw. It's a miracle when I don't get hit in the face with a paw. I've actually blamed a black eye and a very large, bleeding scratch on walking into a wall. WHO DOES THAT? Someone with a dog who doesn't know how large and scratchy his dog paws are, however, how in the world do you explain that to your boss without it sounding like spousal abuse? I have no idea...

12.07.2011

Handmade Holiday Ideas

So my new obsession is handmade stuff. Not just made by me, but pouring over other people's ideas of crafts, gift ideas, etc... and me wondering how people have enough time to do them. And marveling at how creative people are!

I can sew simple stuff (and before I got pregnant, I was working on a Sew Liberated Tunic which I now have to put off until next summer, but that's ok, I might find different fabric that I like and have to make 2 of them!) and I can follow patterns, but I do get frustrated and irritated if I have to rip out stitches more than once.

So I'm sharing with you easy things that can be made hassle-free. Yes, these things suit even the most easily irritated person (me!) when it comes to making things myself.

A pillow from BHG.com. Cut out snowflakes and fuse to a pillow. Insert pillow insert and toss onto couch. For those of you that are overachievers, sew the snowflakes onto the pillow. (Fusible interfacing is SO EASY!!).

5 different Christmas stocking ideas from BHG. Not only can you say, "Screw this pattern! I'm only half-assing it!" but you can also say, "I'm making this the most decorated stocking ever!" So you've got both sides of the coin here.


Clothes Pin Christmas wreath. Spray paint clothes pins, put them onto a wire clothes hanger with painted wooden beads between the clothes pin. Hang with ribbon.

10 Christmas Gifts in a Jar. Yes, please, people... COOKIES. QUICKBREAD. Who doesn't love some quickbread and cookies?

So people, take all these small handmade things into consideration. Low maintenance, easy to make, easy to give, easy to keep! Happy holiday crafting!

12.05.2011

New Development on the Rusty Front

A few weeks ago we discovered Rusty with garbage in his mouth. From the garbage can.

I thought maybe when I threw it away I missed the garbage and he picked it up off the ground...

And then it happened again.

And again.

And again.

Have I ever mentioned that my dog is an asshole?

So yesterday was the last straw.

I heard rustling around in the kitchen and I thought that Bimmer Man had come in from shoveling and that he was getting himself a snack from the kitchen. Then the rustling stopped.

And Rusty walked into the living room WITH GARBAGE IN HIS MOUTH. LIKE HE WAS ALL PROUD OF HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS. My jaw dropped open. And there he stood, wagging his tail like he was the awesomest dog around.

My 'fraidy cat dog is now brave enough to shove his freakin' muzzle into the garbage can and pull out something tasty. Where has my awesome trick of putting the garbage can in front of the door to keep the dog out gone????

So this afternoon I think I'm going to be taking a trip to the Container Store to buy a nice garbage can with a lid. Ouch. You know when parents complain about their children growing up? Well, that's how I feel about my dog digging in the garbage can.

I want my scared-of-everything dog back. Life was so much easier when you could keep him in the corner with a cardboard box.

12.04.2011

If I Haven't Been Decorating OR Cooking...

What in the world have I been doing?



I've been crocheting like a mad woman. The above is just a very small sampling of what is in my closet. I have so many freakin' handmade scarves, but just not enough to do a craft fair - I think if I had really put my mind to it this past year, I could've had a stock of maybe 75+ to do a 3-day craft fair but alas... I was lazy and didn't think of it until October.

So instead I opened up an Etsy shop and just sort of left it... didn't advertise, didn't really do anything, let it sit... let it fester... and then finally got up the courage to list the scarves. And I sold one. EXCITING. So now I have to keep crocheting scarves to keep the stock up. HOW IN THE WORLD DID I GET MYSELF INTO THIS? Oh, by crocheting in the first place and having way too many scarves for ME to wear.

And confession: because I really didn't put too much stock into Etsy, I totally crapped out when taking pictures. I honestly didn't think I'd sell anything or anyone would even look at it. HA. I guess I better get my rear end into creative gear and start taking better photos...

Happy Sunday!

12.03.2011

Beef & Bean Enchiladas


I couldn't even wait to take a picture before I ate them. DELISH.

I guess authentic Mexican doesn't really occur to me at 1:30 in the afternoon, the only thing that does is messy, gooey, cheesy, beefy enchiladas. Screw the finished photo and just let me shovel them into my mouth.

So I went a little Sandra Lee here - but don't give me too much crap, because not only did I not go authentic (like use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas), but I just shoved stuff into the tortillas and prayed that it would be good.

And alas... I've got leftovers to satisfy... YUM.

Beef & Bean Enchiladas.

1 lb ground beef
1 can of black beans
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 clove of garlic - roughly chopped OR put through a garlic press. Whatevs..
1/2 cup of water

Tortillas
Cheese for topping
1 can of enchilada sauce that you find in the Mexican/Latino section of the store or from a Mexican food market. Yes, I did actually go to a Mexican market for this on my way home from work. HA.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make the beef mixture. Ground the brown beef, drain off the fat. Add in the onion. Once the onion is clear add in the garlic, bean, cumin, chili powder and water. Let simmer until mixture is nice and thick.

Fill tortillas with beef mixture and squish into a rectangular pan. Top with enchilada sauce. Top with cheese. Bake for roughly 20 minutes or until cheese is super bubbly and makes your mouth water.

Serve topped with sour cream, guac, green onions, or anything else that your little heart desires.

11.29.2011

Pinterest. EEP. Addiction.

Do you Pinterest? If so, isn't it FUN???

Kim Werker is fun to follow. Plus if you read Crochet Me!, you might recognize her! (And I love to pin all things crochet...).

And I think at some point I'm going to have to re-organize my Boards. I've got so much stuff on my "For The Home" board that I think I'm going to need to put it into different categories - In The House, The Garden, etc... And I started a Holidays board but man... I may have to do different holiday boards, but Christmas stuff I love the best so maybe not...

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS, I'm telling you - those Pinterest boards! They get you every time!

So let's run down the list of fun people to follow (because I can't leave you with just one!):

SkylarkDawn

OnePlaidAunt

And there's more... but I'm the one that clicks to see who people follow and then I just keep clicking and realize that crap... I'm following over 100 people.

So if you want to follow me on Pinterest... click here!

11.26.2011

Re-Decorating the Spare Room.

Yikes. WE'RE GOING TO BE PARENTS.

And somehow "Parent" feels like a dirty word.

So the spare room needs to be re-done, re-painted, re-decorated. Pretty much everything needs to be pulled out and then new stuff needs to be put back in. Which is fine. But getting there... Oy vay. That's the hard part.

So onto the decor. We want at least one more child after this so everything will be neutral. This poor kid is getting the shaft... no "gender" specific items... Plus that also means we can give hand-me-downs to friends when they have children and we don't need to worry about giving them PINK when it's a boy (but boys in pink ties are super cute!).

This is my top rug pick (the multi-color one on top) from West Elm. It's an 8x8 square for $399. Right now West Elm is having a 15% off sale making the rug $339. But I've seen 20% off sales on rugs before... so now the waiting period begins to get a better deal (it better happen before March). I can order the rug in the store and then have it shipped to the store so I don't have to pay shipping. YES. SIGN ME UP. Plus this rug is the only one Bimmer and I can agree on.

Wall Color - see the light gray-blue in the rug? That's going to be the wall color. Not too baby-ish, not too grown up, not too girly, not too boy-ish. We're stayin' pretty neutral here... (though in about 5 years if the room is painted HOT PINK, I suppose that's fine too). SO stay tuned on that. I have to go to Hirschfield's and pick out a Benjamin Moore color - I've had AWESOME luck color matching at Home Depot so I don't have to pay $50 for a gallon of paint.

 Crib is from Becker Furniture World - I ordered it in "Cinnamon" so it's a lighter brown. More traditional. This is also a convertible crib so at some point I'm going to have to call and order the rail and crap to convert it.

Dresser is from Ikea - the Hemnes, it's $299. I LOVE my 8 drawer Hemnes dresser and there's so much storage that I think this will be a great dresser made to "grow" with. The closet in the spare room is sort of a joke (seriously, it's laughable) that I think this is a great option.

We'll probably end up picking up a changing table and maybe a small bookcase from Ikea too - all in white.

See? Neutral. If I never said we were having a girl, you'd think we would have no idea of the sex, right?

Now the next issue will be decor - prints, do we go with Dr. Seuss? Animals? Owls? Ok, maybe not owls...

This Week's Menu

In no order whatsoever:

Leftover beef stew from Thanksgiving

Enchiladas of some sort - maybe beef. Yep, beef. No chicken. But definitely cheesy Mexican. I will have to peruse Pinterest to find myself something delish.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Frozen pizza

Tacos, maybe. Or maybe spaghetti. But definitely with beef. No turkey.

Are you sensing a theme? My crazy self is now a beef-eater. I haven't had beef in years. Seriously (Ok, REALLY GOOD steak, yes... but me cook with beef? ARE YOU NUTS? I haven't touched beef for ME to eat in... maybe 4 or 5 years now... I buy it for Rusty or Bimmer Man when there's a good cut of steak but me... NO WAY).

11.16.2011

Sign Me Up!!!

Er, um, well, I've sort of started, um...

Ok, I've got a confession to make.

I LOVE getting catalogs in the mail. I'm addicted to them. And magazines. Holy heck, do I LOVE magazines!

And it will be a very sad day for me once I start cleaning out the spare bedroom.

I'm going to have to give away some magazines. Bimmer Man - I know you read this - please note: I typed "some" magazines, not all, not the majority of them, just "some," so don't get your hopes up too high.

So I went on a catalog spree and signed up for as many as I could possibly think of. Since catalogs go out of date and are recyclable, I really don't feel bad signing up for junk mail. Plus I think I can probably keep the US Postal Service in business on my magazines and junk mail alone.

I signed up for:

The Land of Nod
Pottery Barn (Teen, Kids, Bath & Bed, blah, blah, blah....)
Sundance Catalog (Holy buckets, I want EVERYTHING from here!!!)
The Company Store
Improvements
Ballard Designs
Grandin Road
Lillian Vernon

OMG. I'm turning into my mother.

Well, actually she used to get BAGS of catalogs from a man at work. And those catalogs were AWESOME. They were so much fun to read and look at. And the Sundance Catalog... that's where I got the idea of me needing cowboy boots. And now I have a pair of boots, but they're not really cowboy boots, so I still NEED a pair of cowboy boots!

Are there any other catalogs that I should sign up for? Any that you really like that you want to share?

11.11.2011

CSA Recipe: Bruschetta



YUM. (Although I had a serious aversion to basil early on, I've sort of gotten over it... I'm seriously waiting for next year to chow down on all the basil possible...). If you use MEATY tomatoes, you'll get more bruschetta, plus it won't be so mushy and you'll be able to fit more of it onto your toasty bread.

These tomatoes came from our awesome CSA - Driftless Organics (which, BTW Driftless, I've still got your check sitting here to be mailed for the December box, so don't fret, I just need a stamp!!!). I think next year I'm going to order a full share - I plan on making my own baby food... we will see how that goes. Rusty is still eating raw so I think this kid has got a good change of eating organic... (and it's a girl - just found out yesterday, now let's see how many of you are paying attention!).

Recipe:

Bruschetta

4 - 6 meaty tomatoes - I like using Roma tomatoes, but I'll use anything after using the CSA tomatoes
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt & pepper
A really good handful of basil, julienned
Olive oil - I'd say 2 - 3 tbsp (circle the bottle around the bowl 2 - 3 times and there you have it!)
Good crusty bread, you can toast it in the oven OR on the grill.

Chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Put everything into a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
 Serve with crusty bread and big paper towels to catch falling tomatoes.

Homemade Salsa

Just when you think summer is over... BAM. I bring out the homemade salsa. It's delicious, to be quite honest. Almost all of the ingredients came from my garden (except for the canned tomatoes, but you can use whole peeled tomatoes - just drop the tomatoes in a boiling pot of water until you can peel the skin off).

I made a ginormous batch of this salsa - I put a ton in the freezer for over this winter, so never fear, you can ALWAYS freeze and eat.

And of course, just a reminder, since I'm fairly forgetful myself, to wear gloves when you're working with the jalepenos (or wash your hands a lot and don't touch your face).



So, here's the recipe:

2 cans of diced tomatoes, or really any kind of tomatoes
2 jalepenos, seeded (unless you like heat, then leave the seeds in)
Cilantro - a good bunch
1/2 red onion to start, but have the other half handy to add just in case
Salt, pepper
Maybe a dash of tobasco if you think you're worthy

I wasn't sure how this was going to go... so I put everything into a big bowl (see picture above) and then I just dumped everything into a HUGE food processor and processed away. This is serious restaurant style, non-chunky salsa and it's delicious.

I made little changes here and there - I added in another few hunks of onion, more salt, and a few dashes of tobasco per Bimmer Man's instructions.

So there. Go make your own salsa! Easiest thing to make in the entire world!

11.04.2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, my dear readers. The Beast has made its presence known in the kitchen once again.

Chocolate chip cookies.

Somehow an iPhone seems easier to take pictures on lately. Mostly because I'm fairly certain I've the charger (AGAIN) to my poor Nikon battery. Oh, well. Add that to the list of things to find!

My only issue with this recipe: Soft cookies = 9 minutes of bake time while if you bake longer than 11 minutes you'll feel like you'll break your teeth the next day when you try to eat one.

Original Nestle(R) Toll House(R) Chocolate Chip Cookies

Found on allrecipes.com (ok, so I really found it on my allrecipes.com iPhone app, so what?)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg
  • 1 (12 ounce) package NESTLE(R) TOLL HOUSE(R) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

  1. PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.



11.01.2011

Book Review: Faithful Place by Tana French

This book was pretty good - Faithful Place by Tana French. I really enjoy mystery novels and I like how the author writes - not only does she leave some things lingering, but the story doesn't come together until the very end. Her writing is suspenseful and each of the characters in the book has a place. Don't you hate it when you read a book and you think, why the heck is this character even here?

Quick summary:

The setting takes place in Ireland - present day and also goes back in time. Frank Mackey leaves his family because they're a bit odd (well, you know, there's the usual crazy siblings, drunk father and typical Irish mother) and he planned on eloping with his secret girlfriend. She didn't show up that night. He left anyway. The family thinks the girlfriend is with him. He thinks otherwise. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Then her suitcase is found and all hell breaks loose. He goes back to his family, finds out the truth, gets in fights with his siblings, re-examines relationships, etc... And yes, the real murderer is found - and like the other Tana French novels, there's a twist. If you don't read ahead like me, you start to suspect but don't actually know until the truth is out there in the book.

All in all, this took me about two weeks to get through reading at night before bed. I'd definitely recommend it if you're into mystery novels. Actually, I'd recommend it if you're interested in Ireland too.

I still have one more Tana French novel to get to, but I also read In The Woods. I also enjoyed that mystery too - so make sure you put that one on your list!

10.27.2011

Pumpkin. Pumpkin Cheesecake

Wow. I've really been a slacker. Huh. That sort of sucks, doesn't it?

Really, I haven't been up to much - drinking water, eating eggs & toast, working and crocheting some scarves for Christmas presents. And trying to look for purple sparkly yarn so I can make myself a scarf. I've also been coveting 2 cans of pumpkin puree trying to figure out what I should make. Pumpkin bread? Pumpkin muffins? Maybe pumpkin pie? Oh, wait - I've got to save a can because I came across a Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe in my latest issue of Southern Living. Oh, yes, PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE. WITH PRALINE FROSTING.

I think I was meant to live in the South with all the fabulous food. Biscuits and gravy? Yes, please! Gumbo? Why, yes, please! Crawfish? Ummmm.... YES. Cajun food. YES. Grits? Oh, my Lord. I really think I'd fit in well in Louisiana. Le sigh. I think I can only convince Bimmer Man to possibly move to South Carolina for retirement. Is that southern enough? I think there might be a race track there.

Now I've never made a cheesecake before (GASP!!) in all the years that I've been cooking and baking. I don't even own a springform pan (GASP!!). So I'm going to have to buy one (I'm blushing). Let's just say thank goodness it was up on myrecipes.com to share with you - because I'm way too lazy to even try and type up the recipe from the magazine.

Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Praline Topping
  • Garnishes: coarsely chopped Pecan Pie-Glazed Pecans, fresh sage leaves

Preparation

  • 1. Preheat oven to 325°. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Press mixture on bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • 2. Beat cream cheese and next 2 ingredients at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until blended and smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add pumpkin and lemon juice, beating until blended. Pour batter into prepared crust. (Pan will be very full.)
  • 3. Bake at 325° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until almost set. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven, with door closed, 15 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven, and gently run a knife around outer edge of cheesecake to loosen from sides of pan. (Do not remove sides of pan.) Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
  • 4. Remove sides and bottom of pan, and transfer cheesecake to a serving plate. Prepare Praline Topping; immediately pour slowly over top of cheesecake, spreading to within 1/4 inch of edge. Garnish, if desired.
  • Try This Twist! Sweet Potato-Pecan Cheesecake: Substitute 1 1/2 cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes for canned pumpkin. Proceed with recipe as directed, baking 1 hour or until almost set.

10.11.2011

Pear Crisp

I've got 8 Bartlett pears that I need to use up and bake with - since I went to Costco this past weekend, I sort of forgot that buying in bulk (especially produce) can be sort of wasteful when there's only two people in the house. Unless you really like something and eat it all the time.

Generally I turn to Paula Deen for baking recipes and this Pear Crisp recipe looks super easy and delicious. I think pears are my second favorite fruit (first is definitely peaches!).

Pictures to come tonight!

How Much Do You Really Want To Know?

About pregnancy.

Seriously. I mean I never heard some of the weird things that happen to your body and really, I don't plan on posting about pregnancy that often (maybe like once or twice more before March, otherwise I plan on sticking to my usual stuff: food, decor and random crap).

I guess I'll tell you the weird stuff that happens so you'll be prepared. Any pregnant women or mothers, please feel free to add more in the comment section.

1. Food that you previously liked will not taste good. I projectile vomit from ice cream, soup and crackers. Strange, yes, part of pregnancy, yes.

2. Your feet swell. Or at least my left foot.

3. Zofran, Reglan and Phenergan will become lifesavers if you have awful morning sickness (and when the doctor starts discussing a PICC line and 24 hour IV Zofran drip, don't panic, just tell them that yes, you can keep down water. For more information on Hyperemesis, please visit helpher.org).

4. Even water tastes weird. (I HAVE to drink water out of a bottle, if not, well then, you've been warned)

5. Animals smell funny.

6. Get at least 4 different scents of body wash plus 1 unscented body wash so you have options.

7. Options for anything are awesome. (ie: strawberries or grapes; easy to vomit or tastes good; clean or you can live with dirty, etc...)

8. Suddenly you have a runny nose. And a postnasal drip. Which you've never had before.

9. Meh, I'm not far enough along to keep going.

Ok, ladies and future mothers: I've warned you of my symptoms. I promise that if you live close by I will come over and clean your fridge, take out your garbage and clean your bathroom. I will make your life easier. Maybe even walk your dog. And help you grocery shop. And not shove crackers or ginger in your face. In fact, I will stop at Subway if you want, get you a 6 pack of N/A beer and happily wish you congratulations and give you well wishes because it's very exciting and pretty awesome...

10.10.2011

Bringing the Outside In: Card Holder

Thank goodness I've been feeling a bit more crafty lately. I'm feeling more like me SO... let's get some craft on. Ok, well sort of.

I had an excellent idea that I found on Pinterest and so I decided to take my tired self to Joann Fabrics and try to re-create this. However, I think I failed miserably.

Here's my inspiration:

Very pretty. Plain branches, decorated with cards in some sort of vase... Blah, blah, crafty, blah.

And here's what mine looks like:

Ignore the crappy iPhone photo. I literally stuck branches in a pitcher. And then I started laughing. And then I decided I was way too lazy to take the branches out so I just left them there.

So I think I've formulated a plan for this to not look like the tree from the front yard shit in the pitcher:

1. Get rid of the gumball machine (Hey, Neighbor Heather, you've got 3 kids, do you want it? Plus you live by me so I can just walk it across the yard... please say yes).

2. Find some sort of different catch-all table for the front hall. Maybe something more like this: And bonus points if I can find a real antique.

3. Spray paint the branches. What color? Umm... White? Silver? Turquoise? Red? I dunno... my creativity has gone out the window since I have the spawn of Bimmer Man in my ute.

4. Find some old Christmas cards and hang them up to make me look more popular. BWAHAHA.

Happy Monday.

9.28.2011

Resurrecting an Old Favorite: Chili

Last night I craved something. BEANS. Black beans. Delish. And yesterday was an awful day - dark, dreary, definitely Fall-like and it called for something warm and toasty.

CHILI.

So I resurrected an old favorite and a staple dish in the fall and winter in the McTatty household - Chili.



This Chili recipe I posted in 2009 and decided to never post a chili recipe again. I don't know why - maybe because if you post it once then people star it in Google Reader and they always have it handy? But then new followers and readers barely even know it's there, right?

So I'm bringing it back.

I have made a few changes (a little here, a little there throughout the years...)

CHILI

1lb ground turkey (or ground beef)
2 cans black beans
1 can red beans (make it 2 if you're cooking for a crowd)
1 tbsp chili powder (make it 2 tbsp)
1 1/2 tbsp cumin (Change it to 1 tbsp)
1 tsp coriander
Just a little cayenne pepper (seriously, just a smidge)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (ok, 5 - 6 good shakes of the bottle)
1 onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes (2 cans if you like more tomatoes)
1 can tomato sauce
Salt & pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press or finely chopped
Plus you can add a half a bottle of good beer (this is optional, since getting knocked up I haven't stocked beer, but trust me, if you get a good dark beer, it makes this chili Heavenly)

Add the onions to a large pan over medium with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, wait about two minutes, and then add the meat to brown.

Add all other ingredients and simmer for about 25 - 30 minutes.

Serve with really good tortilla chips, green onions, cheese and any other delicious topping that you like.

9.26.2011

I'm Pregnant

There. I typed it. I just thought I'd get it out there. As you have noticed, I haven't posted any food recipes and now that I'm FINALLY starting to feel better (ok, I'm starting to have good days...) I'm ready to get back into the kitchen.

In fact, I've found several recipes that I really want to make this week, but my poor stomach, I don't know how much I can handle quite yet. So I'll be taking it easy for another week or two (re: eating Taco Bell soft shell tacos, McDonald's chicken nuggets, basically eating like a 2 year old). In the mean time, these recipes that I've pinned from Pinterest should give you an idea of what I've been craving...

My pin is right here.

Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Gah. I'm so excited for fall cooking. I can't wait to start making more beef stew, chicken pot pies and using the crockpot more. Delish!