Posted in Cooking, food, Home

Eating With Caution: When Pinterest Lets You Down & You Have to Rebuild Your Trust In Internet Recipes

A few years ago, I was searching Pinterest for supper ideas. We’ve all been there. You’ve got a fridge full of tofu, broccoli, and mustard and you’re just not sure where to start.  You may or may not have to involve the crock pot and if you’re lucky,  you might just find a recipe you’d like to try.

The reality though, is that you’ll start off looking at three recipes, which lead you to a cute skirt (which you just had to pin, in case you find a similar one at Target), then a makeup tutorial on how to flawlessly apply liquid eyeliner using a coffee stir and finally, a video on how to stencil terra cotta pots with old lipstick.  The next thing you know, it’s 9 p.m. and the kids have eaten an entire box of granola bars and half a bag of chips and you missed your one opportunity to sneak tofu into a meal.

Or something like that.  Don’t judge.

Anyway,

A few years ago, something similar happened to me, only I did find a recipe that interested me. It was pizza! Made in a crockpot!  Bonus for me was that it was carb free.

THIS IS WHERE I SHOULD’VE WALKED AWAY.

I should have slammed my computer shut and said, “Hey y’all! We’re having pancakes for supper!”

But I didn’t.

Instead, I jotted down the recipe and went to town.  As of this moment, the only thing I can recall was the layering of spinach, cheese, and tomato sauce. I’m not sure why the recipe said this was pizza because clearly, it was more of a lasagna. I let it simmer and stew in the crockpot for a few hours.

It smelled great!

My son was excited to eat food that I prepared and I even invited my Mom over to share!

I WAS WINNING AT LIFE YOU GUYS!

And then, we ate the crock pot pizza. Or as my son and I refer to it: CROCKPOT PIZZA OF DEATH.

It was so gross, I could barely choke down more than a few bites. My son was the same way. My Mom, on the other hand, thought it was delicious. She finished her plate and earned a gold star.  Later that night, I woke up feeling extremely ill. My son must have felt the same because I heard him in the bathroom while I was up running to the bathroom. DAMN YOU PINTEREST RECIPES!

We’ve all been there though. We’ve made those recipes knowing damn well it was going to taste like shit, yet we held onto this small glimmering hope that everything would be ok. That maybe that extra grease forming on top will just disappear. Maybe adding that much cheese isn’t such a bad thing (it probably is a bad thing, fyi). Maybe the dog will eat it.

Or maybe… you should stop looking for recipes on the internet genius.

However, I have noticed a small change to recipes listed on the website: there is an option where people who have made a recipe to leave a review! THANK YOU TINY GOLDEN BABY JESUS IN THE MANGER! I’ve used this new feature to my advantage. When I see keywords like: “Gross” or “Like chewing on a salt lick” I just X out of that shit real quick.

Yesterday I was in search again for another recipe. I had a pound of turkey meat sitting in the fridge and quite frankly, turkey meat is unchartered territory for me. There was this website I used to rely on that you could plug in everything you had in your fridge and it would spit out a recipe for you- but I think it closed up shop, which is why I’ve been playing Russian roulette with Pinterest these past few years.

I typed in turkey meat and closed my eyes for a second.

I also promised myself that I would not cook anything in the crock pot, nor would I shape any type of meat into a muffin tin to look like a heart. What I did see though, was a tasty looking photo of meatballs.  I’m into meatballs, but not meatloaf, yet I love hamburgers. Don’t ask me man, it’s just how I am.

Anyway,

This picture had a website attached and eleven people had tried it. ELEVEN! That sounds like some good statistics to me. All the reviews were positive and everyone was in agreement that they would be:

A. “Making these again for sure! So good! So much yum!”

and

B. “Doubling the batch to freeze half. Great to take for lunch!”

See? POSITIVE.

So with that, I set out to make Thai Curry meatballs.

Now hold up, hold up- don’t start backing away. Thai food is phenomenal! And in a meatball form? Dude. Stop.  I was a little skeptical when it called for fish sauce, but I had some sitting in the cabinet that I wanted to use up, so hey! Let’s do this!

The recipe itself was super easy: whisk all ingredients, add meat, bake 20 min. Although, I was a little grossed out mashing the ingredients into the turkey meat. I have just recently started eating meat again and turkey meat is so… pasty? Clammy? I don’t know. It definitely doesn’t clump the same as hamburger meat, that’s for sure. But I soldiered on and was able to make the meatballs!

When my husband and son walked in the door, they asked if I was cooking fish for supper. “Nope, meatballs.”  My son looked me dead in my eyes and said, “This isn’t going to be another Crockpot Pizza of Death, is it?” I could see the genuine concern washing over his face. We will never forget that horrific evening where our bowels screamed and we begged for mercy. NEVER.

“Ehhhh… I don’t think so. But I’ll tell ya what, I’ll eat one first and if it sucks, we’ll go eat tacos or something.”

Do you know, that there wasn’t a single Thai Curry meatball left? NOT A ONE PEOPLE! They were so delicious! Spicy, sweet and tangy. I added sesame seeds to the top as they cooked, so there was an added visual aspect and no one seemed to notice that I subbed crushed pork rinds in lieu of breadcrumbs.

I didn’t take any photos to share with you, but I did manage to save the recipe! My son has requested these again and in a double batch so he can hoard them all to himself.

Let me know if you decide to make it and what you thought. Don’t be skeered. You got this man.

Thai Curry Meatballs:

  • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste (I used green b/c I was out of Panang).
  • 1½ teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 450g/ 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs (I used about a cup of crushed pork rinds b/c I’m on that low carb train again)
Instructions
  1. In the bottom of a medium bowl, stir together the curry paste, brown sugar, fish sauce and egg until curry is evenly mixed.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  3. Roll into 1.5 tablespoon balls and freeze or bake at 375°F for 20 minute

 

 

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Posted in Cooking, Home

Award Winning Indeed

A few months ago, I started watching this series on Netflix called Shetland. A Scottish crime drama show based on the Shetland Islands. I devoured every episode and once I’d finished, was in a show hole. What would be next? What would I do with my evenings now, laundry? HA.

It took some research, as well as conversations with my buddy Dave (who also watched Shetlands) and discovered a British crime show called Father Brown. The episodes are inspired by the stories of GK Chesterton.  Basically, Father Brown is the local priest who has an uncanny knack for figuring out murders in their town before the inspector does.

The first few episodes I wasn’t entirely involved, but eventually, the programming grew on me. Especially the fashion (mid 50s era) and the quaintness of the town. Of course, Father Brown, played by Mark Williams (aka: Ron Weasley’s Dad) captured my heart.  I noticed in the first season, his trusty side kick, parish secretary Mrs. McCarthy, often had her “award winning scones” on hand.  No one could resist them and I found myself pausing the television to get a closer look.

Those scones did look divine.

It became my mission to track down a recipe and recreate them. The only problem was, the only type of scone I’ve ever really eaten were the giant American variety with frosting and/or filled with chocolate chips. Mrs. McCarthy’s scones look like American biscuits. And there was another road block: clotted cream (or Devonshire cream, should you choose). Clotted cream is thick cream made by indirectly heating full-cream cow’s milk using steam or a water bath and then leaving it in shallow pans to cool slowly.  From there, the “cream” rises to the top (I can’t type that line without saying it like Macho Man Randy Savage) and that’s what you put on the scones, along with the fresh strawberries.

I’m not even sure where you can get fresh full cream cow’s milk. I mean, I could probably get my hands on some of it back home in Tennessee, but here in Atlanta, I don’t have the same connections.  So I put the scone dream on the back burner until one evening, I decided to simply Google it.

And you know what? There it was. Someone on the internet was feeling me. They understood the quirky addiction to Father Brown and the obsession with making those damn scones.  After reading the recipe (which you can find HERE), I realized that the recipe wasn’t as difficult as I had originally thought.

For those of you who know me, you know that I’m not the greatest baker. My cookie skills are more along the lines of buying the prepackaged version at the grocery and baking them at home. My husband is the ultimate cookie baker, that’s for sure.  Making homemade crusts for pies is lost on me, which of course, is why Pillsbury makes them for us.  I remember when my husband and I were dating, I invited him over for dinner. Earlier that day, I tried to make a pie, which tasted like shit. I quickly ran out to the grocery and bought a Boston Creme Pie pie, which also tasted like shit. We still have a good laugh over it and any time we’re in the grocery and I see one, I’ll say, “Hey, you want me to pick this up for dessert?”

Yesterday morning I decided to make the scones. I woke up, did started some laundry and thought, “It’s time. I gotta know if these scones are any good.” I know that everyone cooks and bakes differently, but for me, I prefer to have all ingredients in front of me with the measurements already in place. It’s just easier for my brain to work that way and I’m sure there’s a fancy culinary school name for doing that- I’m just too lazy to look it up.

So I set off on my quest to make Mrs. McCarthy’s award winning strawberry scones.

The dough itself was simple to make and as the recipe states, more along the lines of an Irish scone- as Mrs. McCarthy is Irish, not English. I was able to make the dough in my food processor and it rolled out beautifully. I used a small glass to cut the dough, because we don’t own any cookie cutters.  I baked them at 425 for 11 minutes and they were absolutely perfect.

The next step was making fresh whipped cream.  The recipe calls for clotted cream, but I didn’t feel like warming up a gallon of milk in a 13×9 for 12 hrs to scrape what could be a disaster off the top.  Maybe in the upcoming months, I’ll brave this task and report back on how delicious it is.

By eleven a.m., I was putting together my first scone. I used a bit of my mother in laws homemade strawberry preserves on the bottom, sliced up a strawberry, topped with whipped cream and then topped with a scone.

I took a moment to admire my handiwork and then promptly ate it.  I took the time to appreciate how it all tasted. The light sweetness of the whipped cream, the tartness of the strawberries and the thick scones.  It was, by far, the most delicious breakfast I’d had in awhile.  Heh.

So without further ado, I give you the award winning strawberry scones! Let me know if you decide to make them or if you have your own favorite scone recipe! I’d love to try it!

Image may contain: food

 

Posted in Home, Life

Gravy & Ice

First things first :

It’s raining.

It’s cold.

The weatherman mentioned a “wintery mix” this week.

This means only one thing:

That’s exactly what it’s like living in the South.  Even the tiniest mention of snow and there is panic.  Worry.  What the hell are you going to do with all that milk and bread anyway? Because I’ll tell you what, without eggs, you’ve got some pretty shitty french toast.

We’ll see what happens in the morning.  My commute to and from work is going to be a bear, so I’m ready to hunker down in my car with some jazz and plenty of snacks.  I’d say I’d pack extra drinks, but I learned the hard way that you just do not need to drink that much water before driving home.  Man.

For the most part, we rarely see accumulation.  Sure, we see it in the sky. We see it dust our cars.  What we don’t see is enough of it to make igloo’s in the front yard or snowmen or even a decent snowball fight.  I’ve lived in the South since I was twelve.  I’ve lived in Atlanta now for four years.  And in that time, have I seen enough snow to make a snowball. Twice. Actually, I take that back.  There was enough snow that accumulated once on my patio table out back, so I put a sixer of beer in the snow. Mmmm frosty beers!

Then I made some snowballs.

Oh and snow cream! Yes yes y’all!

When I was younger, we lived in the suburbs of Detroit.  We had a plastic square with a handle on one end so that we could make our own igloos.  That was badass you guys.  Although, I don’t recall if my parents ever told us not to get too comfy in there so we wouldn’t fall asleep and suffocate.  Or something like that.  I’m not sure.  We wore snowsuits and moon boots.  Something that is pretty much foreign to my son.  Hell, when he was a toddler, it snowed so much back in Tennessee that I had to go old school with his mittens.  That’s right, I put two pairs of socks on his tiny hands.  Keepin’ it real you guys.

Some winters I miss the snow.

And by miss it, I mean the Thomas Kinkade type snow- where everything is pure and untouched. As if you could listen closely, you’d hear the soft lullaby of winter hushing you while you sipped on hot cocoa.  That’s how I like to think about snow.  Not the crazy piss tinged, grey and mushy, sort of smells like a mechanics shop snow.  No, no.  We’ll have none of that.

So tomorrow, maybe I’ll get forecast lucky and see snow.

Maybe touch it.

Right as I run screaming into Kroger about how I need to buy milk and bread.

 

 

Posted in Home, Life, NaBloPoMo, Writing

Sick Daze

Currently watching: Antiques Roadshow

Sipping on: jasmine tea

Saturday evening, I started feeling kind of shitty.  I chalked it up to the quick change in the weather. Fall in the South typically means 75 on Monday, 45 on Wednesday, 62 Thursday…. on and on it goes, until BAM. It’s full blown winter and there’s talk of “snow.”  Actually, I read somewhere that getting sick due to weather is complete and total bullshit.  Who knows.

Sunday I did nothing.

NOTHING.

Laid on the couch, watched movies, snacked, slept and that’s about it.  We all participated. It was glorious.

Until I woke up sometime before five with a raging fever, unable to swallow and feeling worse than ever.  I managed to get up, pack MD’s lunch and drive him to school.  It’s what Mom’s do.  Unless you’re actually heaving up a kidney in the toilet, you still do stuff. And yes, it sucks. However, you somehow have flash backs to coming home with your child for the first night and you stop bitching.  Because there is nothing more terrifying than being left alone with a tiny screaming human.

If you can survive that, you can survive a “cold.”

So I prevail.

And after a early morning nap, I was up, cleaning the house a bit (even if I was shuffling about).  Then I was back to being sick. Back on the couch. Back sweating out the sick.  I haven’t had make up on in three days. My lips are chapped. My hair is bigger on one side than the other.

Yet, I had to get my shit together and go pick up MD from school.  It wasn’t until I was half way there that I realized I’d be an hour early due to drama practice till five.  I swung into a little coffee shop, got a drink, headed to the back corner booth and worked on some drawings.  The girl next to me had to laptops going. TWO.  I wanted to ask her, “Why? What is so super important that you can’t use just one?”

The guy to the right of me had a stack of books on photoshop and he kept scratching his balls.  No, really.  And sometimes, he would stick his hand down the front of his pants and give a good, long scratch.  I watched the relief on his face as I pretended to check my email on my phone.  I wanted to tell him they make a cream for that, but hey, it was already kind of weird in there.

So I left.

Now all the homework is done, supper has been cooked up (crepes and bacon) and eaten and I managed to fold a load of laundry while listening to Frank Sinatra.  I haven’t been doing very well with my posts of the day.  I may have to go back and repost them, because today’s post is about the best birthday ever.  This is a topic dear to me! I love birthdays and have been fortunate enough to have some seriously rad ones the past ten years.

But that will have to wait.

I’m tired, I need more medicine and I’ve been wiping my nose on the sleeve of an old flannel shirt I’m wearing for about twenty minutes.

I know you understand.

Till then loves!

Day 6: Your Day

Quarter to nine in the evening.

I’m listening to N.W.O.  by Ministry

My day? Hella busy.

Last night, somewhere between cooking supper and math homework, MD looks at me and says, “Oh yeah! Don’t forget I have to bring doughnuts to school this morning.”  I stopped stirring the quiche mix and said, “The whole seventh grade or just your class?”

Blank stare.

Once a month students are assigned a specific day to bring in breakfast to enjoy after mass.  It was eight p.m. when my son realized it was his turn.  When Bill headed in the kitchen, I mentioned it- as we were already heading to the grocery.  You know that’s some serious love when you plan a date night to the grocery store.  The only downside to that, is no one gives free samples at quarter to ten on a Tuesday night.  Get your shit together grocery stores!

We decided that we’d pick up a couple dozen doughnuts from the bakery up the street from us.  Hands down, best doughnuts I’ve ever eaten.  At five this morning, Bill was placing the order, by five thirty he was out the door to pick them up.  In the meantime, I was scrambling to dry my hair while also screaming down the hall for MD to get up.

Every Wednesday without fail, we can’t locate his tie for his mass uniform.  Today however, MD knew it was on the hall floor under the new pack of toilet paper I bought.  It’s the little things people.  Little things.  The two of us were dressed and coming down the stairs, clock running.  I am a stickler for the schedule in the morning.  I never leave the house after 6:30 a.m.

Ever.

Today we were out the door, lunches in hand (thanks to my awesome husband) and in the car by 6:24.  We pulled into the school parking lot at 6:52. I helped MD carry his gear in, as he had another ingrown toe removed earlier in the week.  One giant back pack, one small duffel bag for Drama clothes, his lunch and 4 dozen doughnuts.

And I’m in heels.

After I drop MD off, I sit in traffic for an hour.

I work.

I go to lunch.  Sometimes I eat food.  Sometimes I sleep in my car.  Sometimes I write (like today).

I come back and work some more.

I go home.

I sit in traffic for close to two hours.  Unless of course, MD has tutor.  Some days I pick him up and take him. Or Bill. Or my brother in law. Everyone coordinates their arrivals and departures. We even discuss the ebb and flow of traffic.  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays are the long days- as we won’t get home till 7:30 p.m.

Then it’s homework till nine or so.

Then we watch a movie or cut up.  However, because MD is in drama, he’ll have practice till six. Then tutor. Then home.  Or if there’s a band concert, we scramble to beat traffic, eat food and then watch him kick ass in a concert. That lasts till 8:30. Then we go home. Then there’s homework. Then we all collapse. Most days I think about doing the laundry- but to be honest, I am so wiped out, I just go to bed and snuggle with my husband.

As I was writing this, I actually started to get a little stressed out.  When you are in constant go mode, you don’t realize how much you’re doing until you write it all down.  Hell, half the time I feel like this:

That’s probably where the heart palpitations started.  Thinking about all the driving to and fro I’d be doing. So I did what I thought was best:

I closed WordPress and left this post alone.  Until now.

Do you know what was awesome today? Not the fact that traffic was moving at a decent clip or even that the sun wasn’t in my eyes the entire time.  The nicest part of my evening was sitting outside on the patio of a coffee shop, sipping Chai tea with my husband while the sun set.  We chit chatted about our work days, the game plan for the weekend and just general stuff.

It was relaxing.

Refreshing even.

Then I realized that it was quarter till seven.  One of us had to get home, let the dog out and start supper.  The other would stay and wait for MD to get out of tutor.

Rock. Paper. Scissors.

I headed home, Bill stayed back.

While I was in the kitchen, I felt the wave of Mom guilt wash over me.  Should I work? Should I stay home? Am I involved enough at school? Does everyone have clean underwear? Will they like what I’m making for supper? I took a deep breath and kept chopping veggies while the garlic sauteed in sesame oil.

Once supper (mushroom and chickpea stew) was simmering and the house was smelling delicious, the crew started stumbling in.  Everyone carries a back pack, a lunch bag, a laptop. We all kick our shoes off by the back door, even though we come up from the garage.  We all hug and kiss each other hello because quite frankly, we’ve missed each other.

Then, the evening begins and unwinds.  Eventually I’ll go to bed.  Maybe it’ll be before one a.m., although lately I’ve been waking up around 2:30 in the morning to jot down poems.  Then I go back to sleep for another two hours.

Rinse. Repeat.

Life.

There is still laundry to be folded, but right now, I’d rather spend time with my family than fold socks.

Posted in Home

We Could Be Heros

As I’m sure you remember, last week we had a little issue with some flooding in the Man Cave. Typically, I’m the one who remains calm, cool and collected in moments of crisis. For whatever reason, this time I was the one flipping out. We had no idea there was a leak of any kind. When Bill went downstairs one afternoon, he thought maybe MD had spilled a drink, only to discover the carpet was soaking wet. Upon pulling the carpet back a bit, he discovered black mold, rotting drywall and rotted frames.

Cue my freak out.

He and his brother donned those sexy hazmat suits and went at the room. Friday I came home from work and pulled into the garage. As I walked into the smallish doorway to go up the side steps that lead into the kitchen, I noticed the Man Cave door was open.

My mouth was agape.

The drywall was gone. All of it.

I heard Bill rustling upstairs in the kitchen and he came down to meet me. He calmly explained that he took the day off to take care of the drywall and rotting frame issue. I began to cry. It’s so overwhelming.

What happened was, there’s a leak in the foundation. Later on in the evening as the rain rolled in, I watched it pool outside the house and then, I watched it cascade from outside to inside our house. I choked back sobs and my husband, sensing my impending breakdown, suggested we all go out for hot wings. I knew he was trying to lift my spirits, but all I could think about was the enormity of what we had to do.

This morning, we slept in a little and then headed outside to get to work. A few summers back, Bill scored some antique bricks that are about 150 years old. He and his brother built this beautiful patio right below the deck. We put the iron table and chairs out there, built up the fire pit and really loved to sit out there with our friends and drink wine.

Today, we dug it up. I didn’t cry, but I felt it brewing inside me.
photo (4)

This is a quick view over the side of the upper deck. Baxter’s husband Jason came over to help with the demolition. It took just a little over an hour to remove all the bricks, patio stones and sand to the other side of the yard. It wasn’t the back breaking work that bothered me, it was just steamy outside. Steamy and living in the woods means one thing: mosquitos. It also means that I was wearing thick socks, pants, an undershirt and a long sleeved shirt. I was roasting:

photo (3)Covered in dirt and mud! I made it until about 3pm out in the yard and then I gracefully bowed out.  Seeing that the patio had been removed, it was then onto a more daunting task:  removing the dirt away from the house to see what the hell was going on.  Turns out we found a mystery catch basin that was completely covered by dirt.  That may explain why the water run off had no where to go.  Once the guys got the dirt moved off, it was time to start checking the damage to the hardy board and underneath.

photo (2)Turns out, shit was rotted.  And what’s that? You can see into the basement from the outside? UGH.  Just kill me now.  Bill had to remove three boards up to really see what the hell was going on.  So  that led to this:

photo (1)I had walked outside to see what was going on and had to go back in.  I don’t suffer from panic attacks or anything like that, but this shit right here is stressing me out.  Currently Bill and his brother have everything under control and actually are almost finished.  Thank God they know what they’re doing around here.

With all that’s happened in the past two weeks, it took us no time to figure out our next plan of action.  Bill and I were laying in bed one night, when we decided that we’d sell this place.  It really does break my heart.  I love our house, our backyard, the way we’ve made it our home.  But it’s time.  We bought this place thinking we’d have more kids.  While we don’t, we have been able to help out family who needed a place to live while transitioning into college, new jobs or new homes.  So I suppose there’s a reason for us finding our dream home when we did.

Hopefully within the next year and a half, we’ll have finally put the finishing touches on a place that we’ve made so many memories in and move on to the next great adventure:  a townhouse somewhere in the city right as our son enters high school.

GAME ON.