Friday, December 31, 2010

Pinto Beans

We like eating beans fairly regularly here, but eating the same thing over and over again can get a bit boring, especially if the only beans out of a can that you like by themselves are Ranch Style Beans (that would be an Amanda preference and not an entire family preference). I like pinto beans, but not from a can. I've been working over the last few weeks on a pinto bean recipe that I really liked and I think this one is pretty darned good.


1 Tbsp olive oil (because, really, what else are you going to use?)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups pinto beans, rinsed and picked over
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
3 cups chicken broth
2 tsp dehydrated onions (because they were in the pantry, not absolutely necessary)
3-5 cups of water, added as needed

Heat a dutch oven over medium heat. Pour in the olive oil. Add in the garlic once the olive oil is hot and heat until fragrant. Add in the pinto beans, cumin, oregano, chicken broth, and dehydrated onions. Bring to a boil and then lower heat until beans are simmering. Stir every 20-30 minutes, adding water as needed. Total cook time is 2 hours to 2 1/2 hours.



One of my favorite meals that my mom used to make was brisket made in the crockpot. There's nothing quite like walking into a house warm with the fragrance of something good to eat waiting for you. I begged my mom for her recipe and it couldn't be easier. There are two hard and fast rules for making brisket like my mom's. First, the meat is labelled "brisket" on the label. Second, the barbeque sauce has to be dark. I used KC Masterpiece this time. That really is steam coming off of the plate. I just took a picture of my plate before I started eating so I could put it on the blog because I really thought I'd need to make brisket more than once before I posted it, but the brisket really is that easy to make.


Brisket, mine was 4 pounds
1 bottle of dark barbeque sauce
1 cup water

Trim as much fat off of the brisket as you can. If there's a sweet yellow dog at your house, microwave the fat and trimmings and pour them over the dog food still in his bowl. He will love you and stay out from under your feet while you're finishing up the brisket, not that it's going to take you much longer anyway. Pour about 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce in the bottom of the crockpot (use a crockpot that's appropriately sized for your brisket). Put your trimmed brisket directly into the crockpot (no, you don't need to brown the brisket first) and add in up to 1 cup of water. You don't want the brisket swimming in sauce, but just shy of that point. Cook on high in the crockpot for about 8 hours. Slice and enjoy as is or in a hamburger bun.

Roasted Asparagus

We went to my Aunt's house for Christmas this year. Ed and I even took his parents. Everyone is able to get along for at least a couple of hours, so it worked out pretty well. My Aunt had a tenderloin smoked (which was delicious) and I did a mushroom dish from someone else's blog (I can't remember which one as I'm typing and am still not talented enough to link another website within a post). I also made roasted asparagus, which if you haven't tried, you definitely should.

Roasting asparagus is just about like roasting any other vegetable. Asparagus comes bound by two large rubber bands. All of the magazines I've read say to break the asparagus stalks, one by one, where they will easily break and then peel any other hard parts off with a vegetable peeler. I love my family very much, but I needed to get my makeup on so we could get out the door. I cut those bad boys all at once just above the lower rubber band. You'll get tender asparagus every time you do that. I throw the ends in my compost pile. (Hahahaha!! That would be a spot right outside my side door that grows monkey grass and I'm never going to do anything else with it. I think the earthworms feeding off of it must be 9 feet long though..) Arrange the asparagus prettily in a dish, splash with some extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Lie to your mother about the amount of salt you put on the asparagus. Bake it at 400-450F, depending on what else has to go into the oven with the asparagus, for about 20-30 minutes. The tips will be just the slightest bit crunchy if you cook it just right and they'll burn up if you do it longer. Be at the first of the line if you actually want to eat any of it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm moving!

Several weeks ago, I decided that my blogging had become schizophrenic and it didn't really feel like a blog entitled "Cooking for my Twins" could support my mommy blogging tendencies or my foul mouth. :) I've started another blog that will mostly be my mommy blog.

Ed says it sounds like a porn site and I assure you, it's not.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas win

When I was five or six years old, my father produced not one but two huge boxes wrapped on gorgeous Christmas paper for my mother. I remember being so excited for my mother, fantasizing about all of the wonderful things that could be in those boxes. I *may* have caressed said boxes. Christmas morning came and my mother opened those boxes and it was a vacuum cleaner. I was pissed. I had imagined furs and jewels and all kinds of fantastic things awaiting my excited mother in those boxes. Not a vacuum cleaner. I'm getting mad right now just thinking about those boxes. My mother probably knew what her present was. I don't remember her being indignant, or even moderately irritated.

Fast forward to seven years ago. I'm married to a wonderful man and he routinely goes all out to make my Christmas wonderful. His family tradition involved making sure his mother opened enough gifts at Christmas that the cats and dogs didn't feel compelled the next year to all give her Christmas gifts in addition to what my husband and father in law gave her. Fortunately, they feared what the cats and dogs would do if I didn't get enough packages to open. So, Christmas morning seven years ago, I'm opening my presents and the husband and father in law had obviously done a large part of their shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond. One of my many presents that day was a hand held vacuum cleaner.

I didn't say anything about it to Ed that day. Or that week. I did go to work and bitch about how Ed had inadvertently been a little unsympathetic. I may or may not have used stronger words. I never said anything to Ed about the vacuum cleaner, but my coworkers sure did. He was caught off guard as I'd never told him about the vacuum cleaner my mother received.

Three years ago for Christmas, Ed gave me a motorized bathroom cleaning device and a six pack of toilet paper. There was some jewelry hidden in there. But still, a motorized bathroom scrubber?!?!?!?!?!?! For my birthday this year, he gave me a heated mop. I don't even clean my own house. I write out the check once a week! Fortunately for his life, he does hide something nice in with the cleaning supplies.

This year, there were no cleaning supplies. This year, Ed watched me when we were out shopping together to see what I liked but wouldn't buy for myself.

Did you give or get any bad gifts? Or any really good gifts?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Boys at Christmas, II

Last night, my computer hated me and wouldn't let me post the pictures of that other kid who lives at my house and in the room of the obviously favored kid whose pictures were posted yesterday.

It's genetic. Whenever there's a camera close by, my eyes close. Naturally, this happens to an evil munchkin too.

If you can't pick your nose in a picture, what good is a camera?

Why shouldn't your fingers go into your mouth after they've been in your nose?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Boys at Christmas

I told the boys that I needed to take some pictures of them for a present for one of my many aunts today and, naturally, they objected to having their picture taken. I asked them how they would like to have their picture taken and Trip said, "with crazy faces," and Logan said, "in the dirt." It was early in the day and I had yet to turn into a crappy monster mother, so I said, "let's go."

Practice picture. Still cute.

Having fun.

Very obviously my child.

Still my kid.

Drumrolllll,.......My kid is really named Damien. It's because my mother watched Rosemary's Baby way too many times when I was a kid. You're welcome, Mom, for the devil grandkid.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Appetizer Thingies

We had some dear friends over the other night and I made these delicious little appetizers. I didn't do a great job naming them though, so if one screams out to you, leave it in the comments.


1 can of cresent rolls
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp apricot preserves
1/4-1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese
2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Heat oven to 350F. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray. Spread out the cresent roll in one solid sheet on the cookie sheet. (Spread it out in the middle cookie sheet so you can cut the whole thing after it finishes cooking. Sadly, I didn't think about this.) Press the perforations together to seal. Microwave the butter and preserves for 20-30 seconds. Stir to get the butter and preserves mixed well. Spread evenly over the cresent roll. Top with the blue cheese and then the bacon. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or according to the directions on the cresent roll package. Cut into 15 pieces and enjoy.

The first Christmas party

We had our big family Christmas dinner at my Aunt's house tonight. Her house looked like a winter candyland. She had a gingerbread man Christmas tree in her kitchen that was adorable!

We celebrated Christmas on a Saturday this year, so there was no Cowboys game for entertainment. My aunt and uncle set up a ping pong table so that everyone could have something fun to do and a reason to yell. Mom went nuts playing one of my many aunts!

Four of my beautiful and crazy aunts!

We had a great time together.

What are you going to do for Christmas?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chili Dip

My in-laws throw an awesome Christmas party every year on the 23rd (Eve Eve!), and every year, my mother-in-law makes this amazing chili dip. There are never any leftovers which irritates Ed to no end. We make this chili dip a couple of times throughout the year to make my sweetheart happy :) Don't worry. He doesn't read the blog and will never see that last phrase, the turd. This chili dip has the perfect consistency for dipping with Frito's or topping for a chili dog.

The line up:

2 lbs ground sirloin
2-3 packages of Williams chili chipotle mix
1 clove minced garlic
1 15 oz can refried bean
1 15 oz can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
2-3 tsp cumin
8-16 oz ketchup

Brown the sirloin and drain off the fat. Over medium heat, add in the williams chili mix, garlic, refried beans, rotel tomatoes, cumin, and ketchup. Stir well to incorporate all of the ingredients. Taste multiple times to see if the seasonings are right. Add more ketchup and/or chili mix until you get the seasonings right.

If you're making this for a party, cook the chili the day before and leave it in a crock pot on low during the party. Serve with Frito's and cheese.

Ohwa-tatur-diam, part deux

I finally got to witness the magic taking place at the office with the animal crackers. The boys are more actively participating that I thought they were. Half the time that the animal crackers were "hidden," the boys could see them and were wrestling with Ed to get them back. Ed and his father teamed up against the boys, passing the 5 pound tub of animal crackers back and forth, chasing each other around the office, tackling, wrestling, generally running off energy. I did my best to not get run over while still being able to watch all of the action.


The boys go to Ed's office everyday after school. I keep snacks in the kitchen for them and they go get whatever is available when they get to the office. The last thing I bought for them was a gigantic tub of animal crackers from Sam's Club. Snack time is viewed by the boys as vital to their very existence. So naturally, Ed had to screw with them yesterday.

When the boys arrived at the office after school, Ed had hidden the animal crackers and told the boys that the animal crackers had been stolen by a magician. The boys would have to say special words to combat the magician's spell and make the animal crackers reappear. They would also have to go to their Granddad's office and yell the words as loud as they could because that would be the best place for the magic to work.

"What are the magic words, Daddy?" they asked.

Well boys, there are three words. The first word is Ohwa, the second word is tafar, and the third word is tiam. You have to yell them really fast and really loudly to make them work," said Big Daddy Awesome.

"Ok, Daddy," they said and then ran upstairs to their Granddad's office. (I'm assuming there were no clients in the office at the time or if there were, they would have laughed with Ed.)

The boys commence their yelling, " Ohwhatafartiam! Ohwhatafartiam! Ohwhatafartiam!"

They ran downstairs to ask their Daddy if their animal crackers had reappeared. Unfortunately, they hadn't. Ed told the boys that maybe they would need to try different words. Shockingly, Ed knew just which words they would need to use.

"I think you should try these words next. Apparently, the magician's magic was too strong. The first word is Ohwa, the second is tatur, and the third is diam. Yell them as fast and loud as you can again."

"Yeah, yeah, stronger words! Good plan, Daddy!" Off ran my very gullible children.

The voices of my children sailed loudly down the stairs for all to hear.

"Ohwhataturdiam! Ohwhataturdiam! Ohwhataturdiam!"

They ran downstairs to Ed again, asking if the animal crackers had reappeared. They had!

So basically, ed and I had children so we could make them do funny things and then laugh at them. This is parenting at it's best y'all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm going to make you get divorced and I'm going to marry Mommy!

Ed and the boys were playing last night. I'm not sure what I was doing. Laundry? Dishes? Working? Blogging? I'm not sure, but the wrestling turned into arguing, as it frequently does. (Children need to be taught how to argue effectively. We're teaching them valuable skills here.). When Logan finds himself on the losing side of an argument, he falls back on his tried and true retort, "You're fired, Daddy!"

Lately, the "firing" has proven ineffective, lost it's sheen for him.

Logan's new retort made Ed fall out of his chair because he was laughing so hard.

Logan said, "I'm going to make you get divorced from Mommy! And you're going to marry a new wife and live with her!"

After getting up from the floor and wiping the tears of laughter from his eyes, Ed asked him who was going to marry Mommy and Logan said he was going to marry Mommy. (Awww, how sweet! There's that Oedipal complex in full swing!)

My question is this: Where did my kid learn about divorce? It had to have been at school because Ed and I aren't considering a divorce. We don't discuss it. It's really not an issue for us. We don't have close friends or family members who are going through a divorce. I don't mind that he's heard the term. It's not like you can shield your child from something that half of the population is doing. But whether he learned about divorce from television or school, he has a surprisingly clear understanding of the term and I know I didn't tell him about divorce. He just seems so young to know about it. I first learned about divorces when I was 8 and my parents got divorced.

When did you first learn about divorce? Have your children come home talking about divorce at a young age?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Boys, Growing Up

I try hard to live in the "now," but I usually find myself looking forward to the future with the munchkins or missing how sweet and young they were in the past. I find myself now missing my sweet babies of the past. I love my boys so much, but I miss the babies they were. I suppose this is a natural reaction to the transition they are making, but dang it, I miss my babies!


Logan chose his blankets when he was only a year old. Ed and I would put certain blankets into each boys' crib when they went down for the night and they would throw blankets back and forth to each other until they had the blankets they wanted. Logan called his "lue lankets." He looks at me like I'm crazy now when I tell him what he used to call his blankets. It's more like he can't believe he ever mispronounced anything. He still sleeps with the blankets, but he has stopped chewing up the ends of them.


Trip was two years old before he ever found "his" blankets. They were the little 9"x9" blankets that had come with bigger baby blankets. (We had everything in pairs.) He saw the blankets at the office one day and then had to have them everywhere he went from then on out. Trip called them his "pocket bankets" and would cuddle with them as if they baby dolls. He grew out of the "pocket bankets" when he was around four years old, but did move on to another special blanket. His special blanket now is a king sized, gray blanket that was meant for my bed. (The little thief!)


Logan's language has always been oddly clear. He's accepted most corrections to grammar and pronunciation well and incorporated it into his language seamlessly. There is one big exception though. He calls fingers "thingers." We've had long discussions about the spelling and pronunciation of "finger" and he knows how it's spelled and he keeps on calling them "thingers." I really hope he keeps calling them "thingers" because it reminds me that even with as big as he is, he's still a little bit of my baby.


I know it's natural to miss the sweet babies your children used to be. I know it's natural to yearn for the young men your children will become. I hope that for this Christmas season, I can simply enjoy the people my children are now.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I love ratatouille and the boys will eat it after they've seen that little Disney rat making it! Yes, I do feel comfortable bribing my kids with movie time if it will get them to eat their vegetables.


1 eggplant
1 bell pepper, I used red because I love the color
1-2 yellow squash
1-2 zucchini
1 tomato
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 16 oz can of tomato sauce
1 Tbsp oregano
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

Heat the oven to 350F.

Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and tomato into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut the zucchini and yellow squash in half longways and then cut into 1/4 inch slices. Put all of the vegetables into a 9x13 dish.

Mix the tomato paste, tomato sauce, oregano, garlic, and salt in a bowl. Pour the tomato mixture over the vegetables and then stir it all up to get the sauce on all of the pieces of vegetable.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Top with Parmesan cheese.


Jasmine Chicken

You've got to eat something in December besides the Christmas feast right? I made this incredibly easy dish a few nights ago and the munchkins loved it. We had some friends over and they brought their very daring daughter with them. When she saw Trip dousing his food in Tabasco, she thought she should try Tabasco too. Her daddy put one tiny little drop on a bite of rice and her little face started turning red at her chin and the red went all the way up to her hair line! It was too cute! And I was glad that someone else at the table reacts the same way I do to Tabasco.

Incidentally, the name "Jasmine Chicken" has little to do with the dish. I stole this recipe from a girl at work. I'm a bit of an ass occasionally and I had a horrible time remembering her name. We started talking about our kids and how much her girls loved the movie Aladdin, and especially Jasmine, and my coworker became Jasmine.

Anyway, on to the recipe!


2-4 chicken breasts, cut up into bite sized pieces (or whatever piece of chicken you have on hand)
1 can of peaches in heavy syrup
1 16 oz bottle of barbecue sauce
1 Tbsp chipotle chile powder

Heat the oven to 350F.

Put the chicken and peaches into a 9x13 dish.

Put the barbecue sauce into a bowl. Add in the chipotle powder and mix well. Pour the barbecue and chipotle sauce over the chicken.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Serve over rice.

And now, I have saved you from an assured 3 week starvation. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I saved a life yesterday

Yesterday was a strange day at work. It was Saturday, so the hospital was quiet, mostly because the ancillary departments get to take the weekend off. Intensive care units don't have that luxury. There are always sick people in need of care.

I had to give a patient blood yesterday, so I went down to the lab to get the blood. It was like I had stepped into an 80's horror flick hosted by Gilbert Gottfried. The lab was empty. Absolutely empty. I walked up and down the corridors of humming machines. The humming was interrupted by occasional beeps from the machines. I called out "Hello" only to be met by silence. I walked from one end of the lab to the other searching for someone, anyone, to give me the blood I needed for my patient. Finally, after what seemed like an eerie eternity, I found the lone person in the lab, who said all of the other people must have been called out for one reason or another. I got the blood and went on about my day.

My day was going fairly normally until after lunch, when one of my patients decided to take a turn for the worse. Obviously, I can't say what exactly happened to my patient, but I'm sure it happened in at least a few other places around the country. What I can say is that I saved a life yesterday and that if I hadn't had the help of all of my coworkers, my patient might not have lived.

I came home last night exhausted and emotionally spent, but I feel good today, knowing that I truly helped another person.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I think my blogging has become schizophrenic...

When I started blogging, I really wasn't sure what kind of blogger I wanted to be. I thought I knew, hence the name Cooking for my Twins. However, as time has gone by, I've realized that my blogging has multiple personalities. I like to blog about my cooking, or burning of food, however my little family sees it. I like to blog about my kids, mostly so I remember all of the funny things my kids do, but many of my stories about my kids or family really don't belong on a blog about cooking.

Like this morning for instance:

I was getting the boys ready for school and Ed came downstairs to leave for work. Ed said something kind of funny/jokingly threatening to Trip.

Trip said, "If you do that I'm going to cut you!"

Ed replied, "If you cut me, we're going to have fricasseed yellow dog for dinner tonight."

Logan jumped in with, "Oh no we're not! We're going to have Annabelle steaks!"

(Annabelle is the bulldog who worships the ground Ed walks on and views me as the thief of her rightful place next to her man.)

I then declared it time to leave the house because we were late for school again.

The boys and I went out the door and Logan says to me and Trip, "We're going to have Midicow appetizers too."

(Midicow, who's real name is Penelope, is the black cat who feels the same way about me that Annabelle does.)

We all laughed, got into the car, and went on about our days.

See, it doesn't really fit into a cooking blog.

And then there's the side of me that really wants to blog about gross things that really wouldn't belong on a Mommy blog either, but I'm definitely not going to write any of those stories here. You're welcome.

So I'm going to be making some changes in the next few weeks. There may be a title change here, though I'm not really sure what it'll be. I'll make an announcement when I've made my decision.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Big Daddy Awesome's got skills

Eleven years ago today, Big Daddy Awesome and I went out on our first date. That poor man. I've been torturing him for eleven whole years. He made me schnitzels and mashed potatoes. Actually, he made them on Monday. I was ecstatic to have them as leftovers tonight. (You work fourteen hours and see how picky you are when it comes to dinner.) I wanted to share his Mom's schnitzel recipe, but he wouldn't let me. He might not have any socks in the morning. That'll teach him to tell me no!