The Beast Makes Bread: Part 2

Roll the out, then roll it up like you would cinnamon rolls.
Let it rest for another hour.
Make an egg wash...
Oh - look... farm fresh eggs! Anyway, make the egg wash, brush over the loaves and sprinkle with oatmeal...
And fresh bread.


The Beast Makes Bread: Part 1

The Organized McTatty, meet The Beast. The Beast, meet The Organized McTatty. Thank you, tax refund. Thank you.
What's my first recipe? Well, Honey Oat Bread from the Kitchen Aid Mixer booklet.
What you'll need. Flour, honey, butter, water, eggs, yeast, oatmeal. And salt.
Um, I don't have any other oatmeal, so we'll see how this works. Thank you, Sam's Club. I always knew that you're huge variety box "original-oatmeal-that-no-one-likes" would come in handy.
Quick tip: When pouring something sticky into a measuring cup, first spray with Pam.
Works like a charm!
Yeah. Oatmeal. So I eat it every day at work... Whatever.. It's all I have in the house!
While the honey, butter and water heat on the stove, mix the dry ingredients for 15 seconds.
Oh - it's so pretty!
Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Knead for a few minutes.
And then let rise...



The Easiest Skewers Ever

Yes. It's grilling season already. We've grilled Friday, Saturday and yesterday. Today, well, we have hot dogs left but I'm in a cous cous or pasta mood (Ok, we have ground turkey for burgers and brats in the freezer, but don't tell Bimmer Man, otherwise we might grill again).

McTatty's Grill tips:

1. Buy the good charcoal. Kingston Matchstick works incredibly well - lights easily AND only takes about 10 minutes until the charcoal is ready. Seriously. Buy it. No more newspaper or that charcoal lighter thingy. Woo hoo!

2. Use the cover of the grill. It keeps the food warmer and cooks the already cooked faster.

3. If you want great sear marks, start hot dogs in the middle of the grill for two mintes, flip for another minute and then move to the outside edges to warm all the way through.

4. Skewers should always be more in the middle but only for about 3 minutes per side - then move off to the edges until ready to serve. Skewers get cold fast!

5. The more I grill, the more tips I'll have - but these are just a start.
Two kinds of Chicken Skewer Marinades:

"Italian" Marinade:

1/2 cup Italian dressing
1 tsp grainy mustard (we had Grey Poupon sitting on the counter)
Splash of red wine viniagrette
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper

Combine all in one bowl - marinate chicken for 30 - 45 minutes in fridge. You can baste the whole skewer on the grill if you want to, but I'm lazy and we don't exactly have an outdoor kitchen so I didn't do that. Maybe in the future.
"Buffalo" Marinade

1/2 cup buffalo sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
Dash of hot sauce (as if it couldn't be any hotter)
Juice of one lemon

Combine all in a bowl. Let chicken marinade in HALF of this mixture for 30 - 45 minutes. Then, you need to baste the chicken with it on the grill so it has a kick. Otherwise, it just drips off into the coals and creates flames. Oops.



Who Wants Cheap Magazine Subscriptions?

I just got this lovely link in my e-mail because I subscribe to Real Simple.

Totally cheap - Cooking Light for $12, Southern Living for $10, This Old House $10

If you like having the tangible magazine instead of looking online - definitely get one. The prices are amazing!

This Is An Organizing Post

Amazing, right? Um, yeah.

So I chose the facebook cartoon, not because it's all that funny but because it seems like every time facebook makes a change, there's a change in our lives.

Like moving.

So here's the To-Do list that I have in my notebook - because we're moving in... 8 1/2 weeks.

Can you believe it? Back to the MSP we go... This time I have to document it so that way I know how I packed everything so when we move again, I'll have an established checklist.

So here's the list:

1. Bimmer Man needs to graduate first and foremost
2. Stop eating take out so I can cook and blog about it
3. Close out the photo business here, establish LLC in Minnesota
4. Finish out photo orders here
5. Try to remember how I packed everything the last time we moved - it seems like we're missing some plastic bins... (Mental Note: Ask Bimmer Man about plastic bins)
6. Re-establish the number system for packing - where all boxes end up in the garage of my mom's house. Seems like all the boxes will have a #1 on them where the garage = #1.
7. Don't go to Sam's Club to buy food. Eat what we have and only replenish what we need.
8. Play more Wii Fit. And Shaun White Snowboarding.
9. The MONSTER needs a moving plan too - darn it, that means another list!
10. Take advantage of health insurance and get all check ups before last day of work.
11. I thought this was going to be about moving, but um... I guess not!

So, as the 8 1/2 weeks comes closer and closer, I'll definitely have more leftover recipes and what to do with all the random crap that you're left with in the fridge. Like the half box of spaghetti, cucumbers and feta (pasta with cucumbers, feta & olive oil perhaps...). And all the other randoms that you happen to find - like black beans, canned tomatoes and frozen corn (Hmm, Southwestern Black Bean soup anyone???).

Ok, enough... Have a fabulous Thursday!!



Seventh Generation Newsletter

Here it is -

And get their great coupons too! I love their dishwashing liquid soap! Smells like Spring in a bottle!

What Can You Do To Be More Eco-Friendly?

Well, for starters you could forget to take the full garbage can out to the curb. Every.other.week.

Um, yes. We only throw our garbage away every other week. And generally there's only one or two bags of it. Dog poop goes into Bio-bags.

Garbage tags are $2 each. With 52 weeks per year, that's $104 + $7.28 in tax = $111.28 per year in garbage collection. By only taking out the garbage every other week, we spend $55.64 on garbage and reduce what goes into the landfill.


Reduce, reuse and recycle.

1. Every plastic that's 1 - 7 gets recycled.
2. Take out containers get reused
3. Cardboard and paper get recycled (which is most of the garbage anyway)
4. Cleaning products = all natural baking soda, vinegar & Dr. Bronners so no chemicals ever get washed down the drains or soaked up in paper towels (which we rarely use)
5. Bar soap - no packaging at all and lasts much longer
6. Start using microfiber cloths to clean. Your wallet will thank you! (I still have approximately 12 rolls of paper towels from the last time I bought them - last year...)

At the grocery store:
7. Don't put produce in those stupid plastic bags
8. Bring your own reusable bags - make it fun and buy cute ones!
9. Buy only containers which can be recycled (Yes, I really do look for the recycle triangle)
10. Don't purchase food with a lot of packaging

Unfortunately we don't compost. Dang rental houses. I can't wait until we have our own garden and our own compost pile. Hopefully soon!

If you live in an apartment building that doesn't recycle, find a friend that wouldn't mind setting it out on their curb - you'll feel better and so will Mother Earth.

I hope that some of these tips can be easily integrated into your life. Reducing, reusing and recycling really aren't that hard, especially if you make it fun!

The Young & The Restless

Do you remember my favorite tv show? The Young & The Restless. I can just hear that booming announcer's voice... it'll be embedded in my memory forever - kind of like the promo for the next day, "Next on The Young & The Restless..." with each different actor and actress announcing it.

You know, there's lots of stuff on the set that I'd like to have - like the paintings in Nick and Phyllis' place or Katherine Chancellor's tea set but I could only find the Crimson Lights mug. I think I have to buy it. If you want it too - you can find it here.

For you fans, do you remember Sheila? By the way - is Sheila really dead and do you think she still looks like Phyllis??? I think this will help with some Y & R memories!

How about this??? The opening from 1998 - 1999??? Victor has silver hair now - I remember how black it was!

In any case, I also want to know what they apparently serve at Crimson Lights besides coffee. From what I can remember when Nick and Sharon had it, there was no kitchen. Just coffee.

Anyone know what's on the menu at the GC Athletic Club too?

Happy Wednesday!


How Much Meat Do You Like?

11 ounces? 18 ounces? One whole pound? 3 pounds of meat? Oops, I mean cow?

I'm not a red meat eater, but it's really for health reasons - the added bonus of people assuming that I'm all against animal cruelty is kinda fun too. I like the question, "So you're an animal activist, then?"

Um. Sure! I can be!

Last night was awesome though.

:::McTatty is whispering::: I think they killed the cow in the back alley. It was that fresh.

And my body shall be punishing me for the next few days. But it was SO GOOD!!! Living in the Midwest is definitely good for something - the cows.

So I did some research. Where does the beef come from around here? Well, um, duh.. farms. Indiana has a Beef Council (but no real info, just recipes which you can find here) which works together to effectively communicate with ranchers and consumers. Hmm... that's a little too technical for me...

So I found this link here - farms by county. And I absolutely adore Local Harvest. You can find local produce farms as well as meats, cheeses, farmer's markets, etc... So, use these tools to your advantage to find the freshest food around! Your taste buds will be pleasantly surprised!

So, on with the story (and the eventual point of this post!)...

Bimmer Man and I had an anniversary yesterday (for you family members reading this, yes, we did get married in a courthouse BEFORE we "got married" in June... It was easier). We celebrated by going to dinner at a local hole in the wall meat market of sorts (thanks for the tulips, Bimmer!).

Janko's Little Zagreb serves your typical Midwestern meal. Meat and potatoes. Small salad. Rolls. Wine (Ok, beer too but I like wine!).

And it's a kitchy restaurant. No suits or ties necessary. The servers wore T-shirts, jeans, sweatpants. It was awesome. If I had to work in the food industry, I'd work there. No uniform.

And I didn't take pictures. Why? Because they would've looked exactly like the ones on the website. But I do have leftovers.

So, the main point of this post -



Easy Grilled Asparagus

Everyone has a roasted asparagus recipe. But I generally don't roast asparagus. I grill it. In my grill pan. And it's fun.

Mine is super easy - I make asparagus with anything and everything. I mean, we eat it twice a week so it's only natural that I forget about posting it. In fact, I bought a Grill Pan
with this asparagus recipe in mind a few years ago. (And yes, I stopped at the grocery store and hauled the bunch of asparagus into Williams-Sonoma with me to make sure it would fit into the pan. Ha. But you gotta do what you gotta do when making purchases for your kitchen)And yes, I did purchase it in green to match the asparagus. And no, I'm not as color conscious now as I was four years ago. But my new Brita pitcher is green and matches our drinking glasses.

Yeah.... Ok, maybe I still am a little color conscious of what I buy for my kitchen (I really like Martha Stewart's robin's egg blue, but it doesn't match any of the green! Dang!).

In any case:

Grilled Asparagus, McTatty Style + Spice Rub Recipe (follows)

1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped off
1 teaspoon spice rub
Salt & pepper
1 - 2 tbsp olive oil

1. Heat a grill pan to medium-high heat.

2. While it's heating, sprinkle spice rub, salt, pepper and olive oil over the asparagus. Toss to combine, add extra olive oil if the asparagus seems kinda dry. No worries. This isn't rocket science.

3. Toss the asparagus into the grill pan - make sure the ends are all facing the same way (that way you know if you forgot to flip one). You may have to grill the whole bunch in two batches. There will be no steaming on the grill, just grilling.

4. After three minutes, flip 'em over - now the ends should be facing the opposite way.

5. Then after three minutes, take 'em out and have fun munching away! There's nothing like grilled asparagus to munch on while making the rest of dinner, right?

Spice Rub (which like Emeril's but only thrown together with whatever I have on hand!):

1 tbsp paprika (I like sweet and smoked, just depends on what's in the spice rack)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, crushed in the palm of your hand
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Mix all together and enjoy. You can put it on chicken before grilling or baking. Sprinkle it over oven baked french fries (or popcorn and top with parmesan cheese).

You could even swap thyme for the oregano (oh - or marjoram!).

Happy grilling season!


Do You Know How To Make A Baby?

No. This is no indication of ANYTHING. I just think it's funny. So for you friends who want to presume and assume anything, I'm still drinking wine. And will be for awhile.



Are You Following Me on Networked Blogs?

Because apparently I'm one of the Top 50 followed blogs in Minnesota on Networked Blogs in Facebook. Not so sure if that's a good thing though - I don't have too many followers on that! But then again, I don't update as often as I'd like.


Maybe it's because it's starting to get nice outside! And I can't wait for summer! So really, blogging this summer may turn into more photos of my feet and summer sunshine and pretty flowers and who knows what else??!!

Oh, and I've decided to order one of these:

Kitchenaid Professional 5 Plus

For $319 and FREE SHIPPING at Amazon - it's the same price at Macy's RIGHT NOW - but with Macy's you need to know the free shipping coupon code (CHOICE). If you don't know the code, then it's like $360 - that's a little more than I was planning on spending!

So - happy Friday! Happy almost weekend!

What Does Bimmer Man Do In His Spare Time???

He doesn't really have spare time but he likes to think so.

Putnam Park Finale from HaraM3 on Vimeo.

And this is what he does. There's another one coming up and unfortunately he ruined his own anniversary present. I was going to get him a fabulous video camera, but he beat me to it.

I'll have to think of something else for him!

Way to go, Bimmer Man!


Holy Buckets! Who Wants Cool Tips?

For everything!

So I decided to join StumbleUpon because I had no clue what it was (um, yeah, that's a great idea McTatty - join something you know nothing about!) but they send you an e-mail once a week or so with websites that you might like.

And I'm an idiot sometimes and delete e-mails that I should probably read.

But not this one!

They sent me the website for TipNut.com.

Wanna know how to grow 100 lbs of potatoes in 4 square feet?

Um, yeah! Thought so! This is totally cool - there's tips for being frugal, baking and cooking tips and even how to make meat last longer...

I'm so addicted!

Video: Deer Goes Through Cat Door

Have you seen this before? Amazing!


Hmmm... Decisions, Decisions....

After careful thought and consideration.

I still have no clue what I'm going to do with my tax refund.

Probably pay off two credit cards.

But I'll have some leftover money. So what do I purchase to help stimulate the economy?


Or should I be true to my photography passions and go for some books, renew my NAPP membership and join the PPA? (National Association of Photoshop Professionals and the Professional Photographers of America)


Or I could completely ignore the previous and save it for this summer.

Or I could get a new dresser from Ikea for $279 (and be more organized) -

Or there's lots and lots of cookbooks.

See? The possibilities are kind of endless at this point.

But I'm just stuck. I have two good things to do to boost my credit score, but then I need to reward myself for being good. I'd rather spend less money, but it looks like the dresser and stand mixer are about the same price (the stand mixer would be $275 after coupon codes instead of $359!!).


I could save money too for this summer -

Ok, I need to stop with what I could do with my tax refund. And just stick it in a savings account and make my decision later.



Do You Remember the Bread Dipping???

Oh, yes - we dip the bread!

But as I was perusing Amazon (one of my daily doses of sanity in my disorganized world), I noticed something that I had never seen before. Ok, I have at Italian restaurants and places like Willams-Sonoma, but never before on Amazon.

Instant gratification.

Dipping Seasoning Spices

For $18.51 it's a variety pack of 3 different mixes.

This is way too good to pass up! A glass of wine, sitting outside with some bread and olive oil... that's the summer life!

so I feel like a kid again!

Check out this height chart! It's totally made for adults, but it's theme is: "I'm as big as..."

How about the average size supermodel? A panda?

BWAHAHAHA!! This is great! Although I have to admit, for $9.99 I think I might have to purchase it. I'm pretty short though, so I'm probably not going to have too many interesting items on my height line!

You can find it at Perpetual Kid and they do free shipping on orders over $75. You'll find lots and lots of other stuff that reminds you of what being a kid is all about, hence the name of the store.




1. Bagels
2. Reusable bags from Pier 1.3. Peanut Butter M&M's
4. Running shorts (I have an unhealthy addiction to Nike shorts)
5. Running shoes (Um, New Balance only, please)
6. My blogs in my Google Reader, especially Post Secret (My life is an open book, if I had to send in a secret it'd take me a week to think of one!)
7. Getting organized (well, kind of)
8. Coming up with a cute name for my photography business in MN
9. Treats for the MONSTER10. Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium- yes, the whole Suite, not just photoshop


This Is BARF!!!

Oh, yuck! I really don't want to start reposting what Perez posts, but this is absolute BARF!!! The Hills and everyone on it need to go away, back into their little rabbit holes and stop coming up with crap like this! Argh!

And on another note, Happy Easter! Check out MONSTER's blog for a lovely Easter greeting!


Seriously? Who Does This???

So last night was kinda scary - I mean, Bimmer is at his lovely car racing /driving school and I'm home. Alone.

And guess what happened.

I watched Twilight (Oh - ok, so my review - totally a rip off movies like Interview With A Vampire and several other 80's & 90's vampire movies all rolled into one. Robert Pattinson is super cute though!) and then brushed my teeth, washed my face, turned out the lights, dragged the dog to bed and then went to bed myself.

There was a knock on the door

At 11:30 at night.


None of the lights were on. I hadn't even been in bed 5 minutes. MONSTER was snarling and growling and barking. I had never heard him like that before. At this point I was freaking out.

And so I went to the door and stood on my tip toes to look outside. I didn't know who it was so I didn't answer the door. I peeked outside to see what kind of car they drove (I know ALL of our neighbor's cars because there's limited parking so if they take my spot, I'm generally kinda pissed). They drove a small pick up - dark in color, dark blue or black, either a newer model Dodge or a Chevy because they had those stupid brand covers on the back lights and the corners were rounded - but I need glasses so I couldn't make out the pattern.

I wouldn't make a very good witness with my eyesight.

I called the police instead.

Seriously? Who knocks on MY DOOR at 11:30 at night when I'm trying to sleep? So not cool. They had to have been watching the house - otherwise why would they have waited until I turned the lights out to knock on the door?

Scary, right??? What if it had been one in the morning and I had actually opened the door thinking it was a neighbor that needed help???

There's a park across the street where homeless people sometimes sleep - that freaks me out enough, let alone strange people knocking on my door at night.

So in any case, the police came. They patrolled the neighborhood. It didn't really make me feel any better.

But MONSTER did. I didn't realize that he had "Guard Dog" in him!

As it turns out - there were two men and they were looking for a guy named "Steve" and probably drugs too.

So not cool! Generally I don't panic. But I was alone - and when a strange person knocks on the door at 11:30 at night, I'm not about to answer the door!!! That's what the cops are for.

Moral of the story: next time set up the web cam pointed towards the door, grab a golf club and call the non-emergency line because it's better to be safe than sorry!

Oh yeah, and I can't wait for the sequel for Twilight!


This Kid Can Dance!

Totally reminds me of N*SYNC. Oh, yes. It's a miniature dancing Justin Timberlake...

So, in any case. Enjoy! Happy Thursday! One more day left of the week and then it's time for the MONSTER to have a grooming...


Gnocchi with Tomatoes & Feta

Gnocchi. I haven't quite mustered the strength to make it by hand yet. So Sam's Club it is... They have packages with LOTS of gnocchi and for some odd reason, a box always gets thrown into my cart. I'm not sure how it happens... Reminds me of Target!
So, I also use leftover chicken, but this is optional (because I wanted to make it a vegetarian meal, but then I also needed to use up chicken, so whatever... leftovers...).
To make a quick and easy tomato sauce, chop a medium onion into small pieces. Bimmer Man isn't much of an onion person...
Then mince 3 cloves of garlic. Use less if you want to, but I LOVE garlic!
Chop the leftover chicken into 1 inch pieces and save for later - you'll eventually just nuke 'em. Don't toss it into the tomato sauce, you want leftover sauce for pasta for lunch tomorrow.
Sweat the onions. And then after they're clear and soft, add the garlic and one can of diced tomatoes.
I also added one can of tomato sauce because I wanted leftover tomato sauce for pasta for lunch. Cook once, eat twice. Right?
Let simmer for anywhere in between 12 - 15 minutes. You can let it simmer for longer if you like - sometimes I wash dishes while sauces simmer. I try and multi-task but sometimes I end up burning something or letting boiling water run over. Oops.
Gently cook the gnocchi. It's done as soon as they float to the top - they're just starting to in this picture. About 1 more minute and then they're done.
Drain and add half the gnocchi to a deep bowl.
Put your nuked chicken on top (or leave it out or add another leftover meat instead of chicken).
Then the pasta sauce.
Top with a good handful of feta.
Repeat the layers and top with fresh basil.

This works great for leftovers too. It's very versatile - you can use a sage butter sauce with parmesan cheese. Or just plain butter. Gnocchi is fabulous!

Gnocchi with Tomatoes & Feta

1 package gnocchi
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped finely
5 - 6 fresh basil leaves, julienned
1 cup feta
Leftover chicken (optional)

Sweat the onions in a large pan. After clear and soft, add in garlic, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Simmer sauce for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil water for gnocchi and microwave the leftover chicken.

When the water comes to a boil, drop the gnocchi in. As soon as they start to rise, let boil for one more minute and drain (but don't over drain).

Layer the gnocchi, leftover chicken, tomato sauce and feta in a deep bowl. Top with basil.

Serve with a salad and crusty bread to soak up the sauce.