Monday, July 26, 2010


Every great once in a while (read 2-3 times per month), I pour a large glass of red wine and cook for a couple of hours. This occasionally produces some blog-worthy food. I'm not a professional blogger, so all of this food gets eaten, regardless of Big Daddy Awesome's opinion of said food. These meatballs, however, are delicious!

First, pour yourself a large glass of your favorite red wine!


1 lb ground beef
1 lb hot Italian sausage (5 links), casings removed
1 Tbsp oregano
1 egg
1/4 bread crumbs (scant 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Mix all of the ingredients together with your hands, incorporating the ingredients well.

Form int 1-2 Tbsp meatballs and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes.

At this point, you can add the meatballs to preheated marinara sauce or cool, preparing to freeze.

Ed likes to use the meatballs with store bought marinara sauce with 1 Tbsp of brown sugar and 1 can of diced tomatoes.

I like to use 10 lbs of meat and make enough to freeze for nights when I work and Ed has to cook dinner.

Serve the meatball and marinara over the pasta you love best!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Beans and Rice

I know this dish is not the most appetizing food you will ever see on a blog. This is brown food, the food of children, the food of happy husbands. This dish takes 5 minutes of effort, so Momma is happy because she gets to play with her family.

I got the original recipe from my mother in law the day after we brought the boys home from the hospital. We changed it a bit because Big Daddy Awesome and I are carnivores.

The exceedingly simple ingredients:

1 cup of rice (we use brown rice)
2 cans of original Ranch Style beans (I don't think there's even a comparable store brand version)
1 1/2 - 2 cups of salsa (we use the bottled type, medium heat, because this is not the kind of recipe you'd waste homemade salsa on)
4 bratwurst (We use Johnsonville, either all beef or the Beddar Cheddar varieties. Any type will do, even plain hotdogs.)
Cheddar cheese

Put the rice and 2 1/2 cups of water on to boil. Cook per directions on the bag.

In a seperate pot, turn the heat on to medium and add in the Ranch Style beans. I always skim off any fat that has accumulated at the top because it grosses me out. Add in the salsa and stir. The mixture should not be too thick. Slice the bratwurst or hotdogs vertically in half and then slice into discs. Add the bratwurst into the beans. Cover the pot and cook on medium while the rice finishes cooking.

Go play with your kids and deny that laundry is your responsibility until the rice is finished cooking.

Check on the beans after about 15 minutes and stir to keep anything from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat on the beans down to low.

Add the cooked rice into the bean mixture, stir well, and put the lid back on. Cook on low to medium low for about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Top with cheddar cheese.

Lie profusely to your child who doesn't like cheese, telling him there is no cheese stirred into his beans and rice.

My in laws like to saute onions in olive oil until softened and put them on top of the beans and rice.

Bask in the glow of your children's love while they are eating beans and rice and telling you how wonderful you are!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Green Enchiladas!

These are the heavenly vegetables that make up one of the most delicious dishes I know how to make. I will be eternally grateful to my friend, Jeni, for teaching me how to make Green Enchiladas. I usually make these once every year, in the spring, and I always think of Jeni when I do.

Queso Fresco and Crema are the very necessary toppings. They can usually be found in the refrigerated cheese section of a grocery store.

Let the drooling commence!

I just wanted to add in a picture of my munchkin eating lettuce. Not many little munchkins eat like he does. Not many adults eat the way he does. He will eat almost anything!

On to the recipe!

Enchiladas Verdes or Green Enchiladas.

3 cooked chicken breasts (boiled, broiled, baked, pre-cooked from the deli, cooked any way you like)
2.5 - 3 lbs tomatillos
2 (or more) serrano peppers
2-3 garlic cloves
1 bunch of cilantro
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
30 corn tortillos
olive oil

1 chopped white onion
Queso Fresco
Lettuce, cut into strips

Shred the chicken in a food processor. Set aside.

Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse thoroughly. The tomatillos do not need to be hulled. Put the tomatillos, serrano peppers, and garlic in a dutch oven and fill with enough water to cover the tomatillos by about 2 inches. Heat over high heat, boiling about 10 minutes. The tomatillos will turn a less vibrant green and soften. Don't let the tomatillos boil so long they burst and fall apart.

Rinse the cilantro. Cut off most of the leaves and a small part of the stems and put them in a blender. Put the cooked tomatillos, garlic, and serrano peppers in the blender as well. Reserve the cooking water. Grind the mixture, taking care not to turn it into mush. You want a few small chunks of tomatillos left.

If your name is Amanda, let the plastic lid fall into the blender and grind the whole mixture a few more times. Realize what you've done. Throw out the whole thing because there are now chips of clear plastic hiding in your beautiful tomatillo salsa. Go to the grocery store and get more tomatillos, cilantro, and serrano peppers. Make the tomatillo salsa again. Decide while the vegetables are boiling that you need a glass of wine. Taste every open bottle in your refrigerator. Gag as you get a mouthful of vinegar with each taste. Open a new bottle of wine and pour a very large glass of wine for yourself.

Add about a cup of the tomatillo salsa into the reserved shredded chicken and stir to incorporate. It should be the consistency of a dry chicken salad.

Get out 2 pans and 2-3 baking dishes. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees F. In the first pan, heat 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat. In the second pan, heat about 1/2 cup of the tomatillo salsa and thin it with about 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water or chicken broth. Spread a thin layer of the tomatillo salsa in the first baking dish. (I used 13x9 baking dishes.) Now is the time to put munchkins who are old enough to be trusted in the kitchen to work, using an assembly line approach. Put a corn tortilla in the olive oil and then flip it over to coat both sides of the tortilla, then let it fry on one side for about 30 seconds. The olive oil will bubble around the edges and then the tortilla will bubble up in spots. (There is no need to fry the torilla on the other side.) Transfer the tortilla (with tongs!) to the next pan with the thinned tomatillo salsa. Transfer the tortilla to the baking dish. Fill the tortilla with about 1/4 cup of the chicken/salsa and roll into an enchilada. The tortilla will be very hot at this point. Be careful not to burn your fingers. Repeat until the chicken is all used.

Sprinkle the baking pans of enchiladas with some chopped white onion and 1-2 Tbsp of the Queso fresco. Bake the enchiladas for 15 minutes at 350 F. This is really just to warm the enchiladas through.

To serve, put desired number of enchiladas on a plate and top with the lettuce of your choice (I used green leaf lettuce), chopped onion, queso fresco, and crema, all to taste.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Eyebrows!

It's been a while since I've posted, but life got in the way. I also haven't downloaded any pictures from my camera, so I'm going to give you another story. This one is a gem from my mental archive and it's a doozy! I do have full permission to tell this story :)

My brother, J, is 2 1/2 years younger than I am. We shared lots of friends in high school. He and I hung out. We laughed together. We irritated the crap out of each other. We usually had each others best interests at heart. Usually. We kept each others secrets fairly well. So basically, we were pretty close.

And then I graduated from high school. Which is much better than the alternative of not graduating from high school. I ended up going to the local junior college. J and I still hung out, but life was a little different for me in college. I didn't get to hang out with my friends or my brother as much as I would have liked. Research papers grew in length. Tests required cramming the night before.

This story starts on a night in October of my freshman year in college. I was at home, studying for a test on a weeknight. J had left some time earlier in the evening. I can't remember now if I knew who he was with or what he was doing. He came home after our mother was in bed, 11 or midnight. And my butthead of a brother was drunk! And he had been drinking with all of our mutual friends!

Now, I have a jealous streak that runs a mile wide and can be a bit mean when caught off guard.

J did not have the sense to just come home drunk. J came home with all of the evidence of the good time he had had on his face. They had been playing "Drunkopoly," which is Monopoly with the Chance and Community Chest cards changed to different pranks which would have to be done when drawn. "Shave half an eyebrow" was one. In fact, many of the cards required the drawer to shave a body part. I think one had the drawer stripping off their clothes and running out into the street. J ended up coming home with the outside half of each eyebrow shaved, both legs shaved to the knee, both armpits shaved, and one arm shaved. (Looking back on this, they really had a fetish for shaving.)

So there was my brother, drunk and looking stupid and there was me, irritated with my brother because he was drunk and jealous because I hadn't been there. I then did what came naturally to me. (I have a it of a mean streak.) I proceded to convince my gullible brother that he would need to shave the rest of his eyebrows so they would grow back evenly.

Me: J, you're going to need to shave the rest of your eyebrows to make them grow back evenly.

J: Dude! Are you sure?

Me: Dude! Yes I'm sure! I know about these things. I'm a girl. They won't grow back evenly if you don't shave them completely off.

J: Ok.

So J goes to the bathroom. I stayed at the desk in the living room, studying and trying not to laugh. I don't know what razor he used because I don't remember him having to shave his face at the time.

J came out of the bathroom every 30 seconds. Dude, are you sure about this?

Me: Dude, yes. Now go shave so you can go to bed and let me study

Back and forth to the bathroom he went, shaving a quarter inch off of his eyebrows at a time from the outside. We'd repeat the conversation every time. I'm still not sure how I held in my laughter.

J: Amanda!

Me: What?

J: Are you sure?

Me: Yes, dude! I'm sure! Now go finish shaving and let me study!

You'll have to excuse the prolific use of the term "dude," but it was the late '90's and it was a miracle we had any other words in our respective vocabularies.

J finally came out of the bathroom with his eyebrows completely shaven. I died laughing. I had held in my laughter as long as I could. There was my brother, drunk, with his gorgeous dark tan (of which I am completely jealous!), and the palest skin I'd ever seen where his eyebrows had been!!

Our mother forced him to go to school the next day, perhaps hoping the humiliation would teach him a lesson. Our friends called him "Powder" in reference to the character in a movie that had recently come out, but I never saw the movie so I don't remember the reason for the name.

Little brothers are such a blessing! ;)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ice Cream Stories

Big Daddy Awesome and I took the munchkins out for ice cream today because my brother, B, was working. Yes, that does mean I am unwilling to pay full price to eat ice cream at the ice cream shop. Why? Because I'm cheap and I don't really like ice cream that much.

The boys got their ice cream and were directed to the only open table while BDA and I talked to my brother. Since we hadn't seen him since lunch time, there was a lot to talk about. BDA and I took our time deciding what kind of ice cream to get. There was no one else in line, so we didn't worry about making our selection quickly. And then I heard far too much giggling and loud talking coming from the direction of my children. I finally decided to pay attention to the conversation happening between my unsupervised children.

Tripper, "Mmmmm, salmonella!"

Uncontrollable giggling.

Shocked looks coming from the adults sitting with their children who are quietly eating their ice cream.

Logie, "Mmmmm, salmonella!"

Uncontrollable giggling.

I could continue typing that whole segment, but you get the idea. They just kept going.

I went over to chastise them while BDA made a weak attempt to cover up his laughing and order his ice cream. Yes, I did threaten my children's lives. No, it did not matter one bit. I went back to order my ice cream while BDA's order was being finished.

The boys kept on with their "Mmmmm, salmonella!" conversation, albeit in a much quieter fashion.

Oddly enough, by the time I sat down to enjoy my ice cream with my little family, there wasn't a single patron left in the store.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Peroxide removes blood stains from clothes!

I despise cleaning my house. I'm not good at it. On the rare occasion I am forced to participate in such a barbaric activity, it either takes me an unreasonable amount of time to finish the cleaning, or it doesn't get finished. I therefore find it completely reasonable to pay someone else to clean my house on a weekly basis. The house gets cleaned in about 5 hours and I get to come home to a clean house that smells wonderful. I have, however, been forced to learn a few handy tricks over the years.

1. Peroxide removes blood stains from clothing!

While this tip is useful when raising little boys, and I assume will become more useful as they get older, the absolute best reason to know this tidbit of information is so you can post it on your unsuspecting friends' facebook pages.

Simply pour peroxide directly onto the blood stain on the fabric. Take off the clothing first. Then wash as you normally would.

2. White vinegar, or a mixture of 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water, will remove the odor of urine (and probably almost any other odor) from furniture.

If you just spout off these two facts, people may think you are involved in violent crime. Make up an alias and regale them with stories of your crime sprees. It'll be much more entertaining than simply admitting you have little boys who have trouble "aiming" or occasionally wet the bed. This may also be a useful tip if you frequently host frat parties involving vast quantities of cheap beer and mattresses strewn about various bedrooms. I have never hosted such a party, but it seems like a plausible situation.

I keep a spray bottle with 1:1 white vinegar and water around the house for guests and little boys who have aiming difficulties.

3. My last tip actually involves the pictures above. We went to a friend's house last weekend to swim. My girl friend sprayed down Yogan with sunscreen while I was putting on Tripper's floaties and then we switched kids. They played in the pool for hours and had a fantastic time. When the sun was setting and it was time for the boys to get out of the pool, they whined and complained and finally got out. Yogie's arms, which had been sprayed with sunscreen and then had his floaties put on, were covered with the paint from the floaties. The spray sunscreen and the paint on the floatie had reacted, leaving a "tattoo" on my child. "Tattoo" was his word, not mine. Fantastic blogger that I am, I have no pictures to show you of the paint.

Rubbing with a towel did nothing. Soap and water did nothing. Rubbing alcohol and alot of friction finally did the trick.


Now, dear reader, here is where you come in. I have a white refrigerator. I like my refrigerator. It hold food and keeps said food cold. It does not cost me any more money other than the cost of electricity. It has many, many years left of usefulness. One full side and a couple of places on one door were colored on by the munchkins with dry erase marker about three years ago. I have tried everything I could think of to remove the marks, but so far, nothing has worked very well. Any suggestions?