So, I Could Have Done That

How many snicker doodles are too many? Say six, because I ate five.

I didn’t start with five. I started with two. And then I ate them. And then I went back for two more and realized how stupid that was, and grabbed a third. They’re so good. They’re also really easy. I always think I’ve forgotten an ingredient. You have to let them cool completely or they will just crumble. (That was completely not on purpose).

I should, instead, be working out. But…no. I did help a friend move today. It was so heartwarming and just what I needed. I was feeling kind of sorry for myself. Next thing I knew, I was in my car driving to the meeting place for a little brigade. It was a completely selfish act to make me feel better, and it worked. There was a lot of love there.

For dinner, I made pork tenderloin. I could have just made a little something for my daughter, and eaten chips and salsa standing up at the counter. But I didn’t. Tenderloin was thawed, and it is always delicious. I brown it in honey and butter on medium heat, then I finish cooking it in a 375 degree oven.

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I remove the tenderloin and add hot water from my kettle to the pan to loosen the browned bits. I reduce the sauce and pour it over the tenderloin. And tonight, I made mashed potatoes. Only two items, but it was plenty.  Image

My daughter said, “I love this honey chicken.” I could have corrected her, but…no.

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I could also throw the rest of these away.

I Can See Clearly Now

So, a few months ago, I suddenly couldn’t see out of my right eye. I mean…I could see, but it was as if someone had licked my right lens in my eye glasses. Don’t ask how I know to compare it to that. I went to the eye doctor and had them adjust my glasses. It helped a little, and then the next week I was back to seeing not only double but quadruple of anything that was illuminated. This made driving at night and working on the computer impossible. Back to the eye doctor I went. Another adjustment and a recommendation to come in for a glasses check. I’d only had them a month. I thought perhaps the prescription was a little off and I just hadn’t noticed. I don’t drive a lot at night since my child is in bed at 8 p.m. But, during the day, I was taking my glasses off repeatedly trying to focus on the computer screen.

I went in for the eye glasses check-up. I took my daughter with me simply thinking they would order a new lens. When the eye doctor started to hyperventilate, I got a tad bit panicky. “Have. You. Had. An. Eye. Injury?” he asked. No. I do remember poking myself in the eye with my mascara wand, but from what I gathered…that wouldn’t have caused it. What I think would have caused it would have been an fork to the eyeball from 16 stories.  I burst into silent tears, scaring my poor child out of her wits. All I could hear was my mother saying, “You only get two eyes” like she had said to me so many times as a child. And, for the life of me, I can’t remember why.

I was instructed to wait to hear from a local eye institute for my appointment. They called the next day and made the appointment for a month later. I told the receptionist that I kind of had a feeling it was a little more urgent than that. She said the receptionist made the appointment, but hadn’t spoken to the doctor. She said she would call him and call me back. She did. And then she said, “Yeah. That appointment isn’t going to work.”

A few days later, I was sitting in the waiting room wondering if I was going to have to have rings inserted under my cornea or a cornea transplant. You know…’cause I Wikipediaed it. Keratoconus. A warping of the cornea. In a matter of a few months, my astigmatism had gone from 1.25 to 7.50. I am not an eye doctor, but I can see the seriousness of such a change.

After several doctors came in to check my eye, I was informed I have an “excessive dry eye.” Seriously? Dry eye? You have to be kidding. The head doctor guy said, “I don’t understand how your eye doesn’t bother you.” Well, that’s because I’m a woman. I don’t have time to be bothered.

I was instructed to apply gel drops to my eye twice a day, and an ointment at night. And then twenty 80-year-olds and I were recommended to a dry eye clinic. Awesome. After several weeks, I’m fine. Eyes are back to normal. Thankfully. I have to continue the drops when needed (and considering I wasn’t bothered by it the last time, I’m just going to do it every day). I also have to take fish oil. Evidently, my oil glands in my eye do not express much. I know this because the doctor numbed my eye ball and then squeezed the shet out of my inner bottom lid. I refrained and only said one swear word one time. He apologized and accepted that I probably didn’t like him very much anymore.

The other kicker is (and this is far too much information), I had started taking birth control pills. There may have been a correlation, so I had to forgo the pill for a while. Now, I understand completely that vision. is. of. the. utmost. importance. But I am a selfish bitch, and I really enjoyed not having two cycles a month that each lasted nine days. So, I have the go-ahead to start the pill again and if anything changes with my vision, I need to notify them right away.

So, to end the evening in complete comfort, I made chili. If it was just for me, I would have added chilies and onion. My daughter would have eaten it anyway, but since she refuses to go to the bathroom at school, I thought I’d spare her the added agony. Last night’s dinner was one of those nights I dislike so much; dinner was all the same color: cod, mashed potatoes, applesauce. Bore. Ing. Image

  • 1.5 lbs. ground beef/turkey
  • 1 28 oz. can of Dei Fratelli tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz.) can spicy chili beans
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • cinnamon and chili powder

Brown the meat. Drain and add to pot. Add tomato sauce, beans, and tomatoes. Heat through. Sprinkle chili powder and cinnamon on top and stir. I always end with the cinnamon. Don’t know why.

Meanwhile, I cooked quinoa spaghetti, drained it, and added it to the chili.

It’s perfect for lunch for the kiddo in her Thermos, especially on these very cold days covered in snow. She has to have shredded cheese on top, which I put in a container with a snap-in ice pack. I usually pack a side of berries or cucumber slices with it. And a little bit of dark chocolate covered Raisinettes for dessert. And her glasses. Don’t forget her glasses.

The Day

Today was a GREAT day. That doesn’t even cover it. Fantabulosonificent. Something like that. And I really don’t even know why. It just felt great. Dammit. *note to self: by a thesaurus*

My daughter had spaghetti for dinner last night, plain with butter and cheese. After dinner she said, “Can we have spaghetti and meatballs for dinner tomorrow?” So we did.

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I moistened nearly a cup of gluten free breads crumbs. I put 1 lb. of ground beef in a large bowl with one egg, 2 T chopped parsley, shredded cheese, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper, then mixed. I added the bread crumbs and mixed all together. I heated 1 T olive oil in a skillet and heated the meatballs on all sides. Removed the meatballs and added diced tomatoes in a basil, garlic, oregano seasoning. I had frozen tomato paste and heated it as well. I filled the can of diced tomatoes half-way with water and added that to the pan. I added the meatballs back to the skillet and covered with foil, on low, while I was making the spaghetti. And it was freaking delicious. And I’m giving horrible directions tonight. But I did it. Child asked. Child received. Meatballs for lunch.

5 Things You’d Take on a Deserted Island

As an only child, I can go days and days without speaking to another human. That never happens now that I am a single mom. And that’s fine. Today, my child woke from 12 hours of sleeping (which also never happens) and continued to jump and talk all the day long. I have to admit, it was awful. That famous question about the five things you’d take on a deserted island. As an only child, that sounds FREAKING AMAZING. I wouldn’t take a damned thing! That is the whole point: deserted. Nada. Just me and my thoughts; me sleeping, waking up WHEN I WANT TO WAKE. Oh man. Delightful.

But if I had to cave and pick something, one of those five things would be a pot to make soup in (on the off chance I can procure a fire). I love soup. I could live off of it. Throw any old thing in there. One of the best soups I ever made was for a second date. I had leftover chicken and little else. I found a can of chickpeas and a can of diced tomatoes in the pantry. And one lonely carton of chicken broth. I combined everything in a pot and, after I portioned our servings into bowls, I put a dollop of cottage cheese in the middle. My date was flabbergasted. “Why would you do that? What made you do that?” I think I said something really romantic like,  “Um…it is about to expire.” He informed me that he and his father are the only two people he’d ever known to put cottage cheese in their soup. And that soup was divine. I was proud of my little poor woman’s concoction.

Tonight, I made a soup that trumped that one. I amazed myself. It was from Emeril’s daughters’ gluten free cookbook. A type of tortilla soup with turkey and beans and veggies, it smelled just as good as it looked. It was light and filling. I paired it with their jalapeño cornbread. I forgot to set the timer, but grabbed it in time.

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I forgot to take an after pic, so I’ll do that tomorrow on Tumblr (because I’m having it for dinner tomorrow, too. And probably lunch.). This was before I added the broth and water.

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The top rack has two chicken breasts in a glass pan. I always make chicken and rice with edamame for my child and her friend. Well, I once tried to change it up a bit and it wasn’t well-received. So, now I stick to what is requested.

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This is the best gluten free cornbread I’ve ever had. Better than any store-bought mix. Made with a gluten free flour mix I blend and keep in the refrigerator, and corn meal, green onions, and jalapeños. The texture was perfect, and kept its taste even after dipping it in the soup. Lots left over, and years ago…I used to make cornbread in my cast iron and then eat it for dinner a few nights (and breakfast, and lunch…) with sour cream and heated salsa on top (I love salsa heated in the skillet).

And for dessert (since I made the apple/chocolate/walnut/cinnamon crisp thingy without the girls here and they weren’t too happy about that), I repeated this delicious creation. And I learned, if you refrigerate the leftovers and let a slice come to room temperature, all that brown sugar turns into a dreamy caramel sauce.

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Don’t Crowd the Mushrooms

It’s true. Julia was right. I like to make mine with bacon grease (Boar’s Head) and Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour. 

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I cooked steak in a skillet and then fried the mushrooms in it. I honestly can’t think of a better combination. Unless, of course, it’s edamame/corn/pickles. Heat frozen edamame and frozen corn with 2T of water. Once heated, add 1/2 cup of diced pickles (I used dill, but you could use sweet) and 1T of pickle juice. Delicious! What a treat. 

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Sweet potato fries might be the child’s favorite new side item. Every single time I make them (or fried/diced Yukon gold potatoes), she asks, “Are there more of these for me?” before she even starts eating them. 

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This is the first time in I couldn’t tell you how long that my sweet child hasn’t burst into tears at bedtime, telling me she’s starving. She has always eaten enough for three football players, and always asks for dessert after. I have been giving her apples at night hoping the fiber will fill her up; she didn’t even ask for dessert tonight. But I think the apples are making a real impact on her, wouldn’t you say? 

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Tastes Like Fall

Tastes Like Fall

I saw this on Pinterest. I stood up from the computer, walked into the kitchen, made it, and died. I got better. This is so tasty.

I had made pumpkin muffins to take to a football viewing party. (Is that what they’re even called?) I had some leftover pumpkin puree and this is just about the greatest way to blow through it.

1/3 cup pumpkin puree
half a frozen banana
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I make my own with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. of ginger and nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. cloves)
a smoodge of honey (or a splursh, or a squiddgie–any fake S word will do)
enough almond milk to submerge (real S word) all the ingredients

My personal smoothie maker is the perfect size for this recipe, but I shared mine with a tiny person. You may or may not decide to do such craziness.

Enjoy!

Deep Breath

Remember that scene from Julie and Julia when Julie falls on the floor because she couldn’t stuff or turkey or something? She ended up laying on the floor and crying? I have been feeling a lot like that in the kitchen lately. Things have been off. Recently, I made pumpkin muffins (which I’ve made many times) and realized I put baking soda in them instead of baking powder. **Sorry, friends from the meal exchange.**

Well, today this happened: 

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I cracked the egg, and the top flew right off and shot across the counter. The entire contents of said egg fell into the hole of my cutting board. Jerk. 

I was preparing gluten-free bread to bake in the oven, which came out taller than I am with a gigantic freaking hole in the side. 

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Looked much better after it settled, but not sure what the slices are going to look like for beloved child’s cheese sammies. 

I made tomato bisque. I really need to pay attention when following a recipe. I was supposed to have been cooking rice to add to the soup (to later be blended by immersion–which reminds me of another kitchen tale where I’m standing and staring at the immersion blender willing it to just pop itself onto the attachment–one of my favorite kitchen gadgets), but had overlooked that little tidbit completely. 

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I also threw in some cheddar biscuits, for good measure. And a southwestern chopped salad. I am one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like I’m digging my eye teeth into a bar of Irish Spring, but I don’t care. I love salsa. I love cilantro lemon chickpea soup. I’ll eat it anyway. Let’s consider it a breath freshener, of sorts. 

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The dressing was high on cumin, but it was quite tasty. I smartly didn’t add the dressing to the whole salad, so now I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow; way to welcome a Monday. 

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I approve of this meal. The soup was delicious. I used almond milk, because I don’t drink regular milk anymore (except for the half and half I put in my tea/coffee). In March, it will be four years I’ve gone without caffeine. And recently, I was reading about how coffee is a significant source of cross-contamination for Celiacs. I have gone the whole day without tea or coffee. I love coffee. I have been drinking it since I was wee. I love the ritual, the smell, the taste. But honestly, it’s decaf (I know, not completely caffeine free). I don’t really need to spend the money. And if it will make me feel better to cut it out altogether, I’ll try it. So, today, I bought apple cider pods for the office Keurig; not normally something I would go for, but I’m going to try it. 

And I did a little of this: 

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I’m ready. 

Happy fall, everyone.