If you haven’t been caught up on The Walking Dead, I’m sorry for you. Carol is turning into one of my favorite characters as her inherent bitterness is cloaked in her poorly-matched soccer mom outfits (sorry soccer moms). She makes a killer batch of cookies on top of having a wicked side that I find almost relatable. Carol’s gift of masking her utter evilness with the sugary-sweet demeanor of a doting mother is intriguing. It also leads me to relate back to an experience I had at the bookstore just a week and a half ago.
When I’m tasked with a big project, I find it best to get away from my familiar environment and head to one that gets the creative juices going. In this instance, it happened to be my favorite place – a book store. I went with my hubby so that he could study for his certification and I could gain inspiration by my surroundings.
As we sat in the cafe, we both worked on our assignments. Distracted (easily), I listened as a woman spoke loudly on one end of her phone. On occasion, she would let out a cackle at something she had said. I didn’t see any humor in it, so I got up and walked around a bit. Unhappy with my selections for my current topic, I returned to my seat.
“You look mean!” My hubby said.
“What, what are you talking about?”
“You looked mean walking around. I was watching you,” he said.
“Oh, that’s because I suffer from resting bitch face,” I said. (insert mean guitar riff here)
He went back to his studies and I went back to listening to a terrible phone conversation, and needless to say, I nailed my project. How does this relate to Carol? She’s able to hide her emotions where I can’t, so I guess not at all. Let’s hope I don’t get bitch face wrinkles. At that, let me share the recipe I found from Chris Hardwick’s Instagram for Carol’s Cookies. They sound infamous enough, so I thought I’d share. Also, the proper amount of corn starch will make them fluffy ;-).
*By the way, these aren’t guilt-free, low fat, or healthy. I gave that shit a rest after I expanded my waste line. You’re only supposed to eat one cupcake per serving, not 12. Ugh.
I had another one of my cravings again today. I have a sweet tooth (and the dental history to prove it). There was nothing in the house save for some remnants of my ravenous outing on Tuesday, which weren’t going to cut the mustard this time. I had to make the trek to the grocery store. I threw an outfit on my dog and shoved her in her carrier to join me in my excursion.
She helps me put this on…
She’ll get in any bag if it means she’s goin somewhere
I was actually pretty pumped. I was going to grab a bunch of cake mixes, no-bake cheesecake, and some Jello. I was going to create a masterpiece. Suddenly, I smelled something afoul – it was my dog’s breath. I zipped her up into her carrier and tried to put myself back in the moment of finding the perfect baked goods.
“Get in there,” I growled, as I gently pushed her tiny head into the carrier. She was nonplussed that I had done so, as she stared at me through the netted side and grumbled as I shopped.
Had to zip up the top. Groceries got her too excited.
I got all of my goods home (including a gorgeous Orchid that stopped me in my tracks) and lined them up on the counter. Deciding that I’d first attempt to make apricot cupcakes, I got to work. As usual, most of the batter ended up in my mouth, but that wasn’t going to stop me from baking.
Mixing all of my ingredients together, I masterfully dropped the batter into the jazzy cupcake liners I had purchased.
Jazzy Cupcake Liners
As I leered into the oven through the window in the oven door (seemingly the way the witch did in Hansel and Gretel as she baked kids), I was becoming proud of what this masterpiece was to become. Some minutes later, they were out and I wasn’t waiting for them to cool for me to eat three of them. I was disappointed. I had not added enough jello to the mix to make them apricot-worthy, and the soda water was just that for the mix – water. Trial and error, my friends! I will still share the recipe as it can always be improved upon, as I am going to do today! Nonetheless, I shared them with my friend, whom took them to work the next morning. She says they were light and delicious, and the perfect addition to her and her boss’ morning coffee. I will definitely make them again, but with some slight changes to the recipe.
Guilt-Free Apricot Cupcakes
1 box of Yellow Cake Mix
1 can of diet soda of your choice (or soda water)
1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch (for added fluffiness)
1 box (3oz.) of Apricot Jello
Preheat your oven to 350*. Though in the next variation, the Jello will be cooked and set for about 20 minutes, humor yourself and add half of the box of Jello to the cake mix and corn starch. Add your soda and watch it foam up, getting distracted for a second because it’s mesmerizing. Pile it all into a cupcake tin lined with jazzy cupcake liners, then shove it in the oven for 19 minutes and stare at it through the hole until the dinger goes off.
Remove from the oven and either let them cool like a normal, civilized person, or, if you’re like me, start gorging immediately. You’ll probably burn your finger tips and that piece of skin behind your front teeth, but who cares, it’s for the love of baked goods.
As I listen to one of my favorite movies playing from YouTube in the background, I write this post. With that, let me tell you about my evening browsing the aisles of my local Walgreen’s.
They Walk. They Talk. They Kill.
Every now and again I get this wave of ferocious hunger that comes over me; profuse sweating, weakness, overheating, shaking, irritability, and no self control when it comes to food items that have not yet been paid for. Last night, it happened. When these waves of emotions start to come over me, I head to the aisle that never lets me down; the candy aisle. With my hand basket on my arm, I was feeling confident that my selection would satiate my craving. Things that wouldn’t normally end up in my basket did. For instance, Peeps. Peeps? I HATE Peeps, but hell, they look good enough to maul once I reach the safety of my car. And cake batter flavored?! Forget it!
“Chocolate covered cherries?! YEAH!” In the basket they go.
“Blueberry licorice?! YEAH!” In the basket it goes.
Among other various snacks and confections, my wave of the Joe Pesci’s was becoming overwhelming. I decided that I must head to checkout. While waiting for the woman in front of me, the need came over me to unzip the top of my licorice and start gorging right there. Catching the side-eye of the cashier, I snuck one more piece and resealed the bag. I piled my items on the counter and watched as the line behind me started to grow.
“Well, you can tell I’m hungry,” I snickered, trying to make light of my situation. The cashier wasn’t amused.
I paid and hurriedly grabbed my treats. I clamored into my car, but not before realizing that something crashed against my car and I couldn’t get my arm in. Ugh. The hand basket. Too hungry and too weak, I just threw it in my car. Now I’m stuck with a hand basket in my car and the need for an extra trip today to return said basket.
With that, I give you the recipe for a much more successful evening than I had…
Crockpot Tom Yum Soup
2 tbsps red curry paste
2 12 ounce cans of coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsps fish sauce
2 tbsps brown sugar
2 tbsps peanut butter
1½ pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1½ inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into ¼ inch slices
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 heaping tbsps fresh ginger, minced
1 package of lettuce wrap powder mix
6 tbsps of white vinegar
1 bunch of cilantro, coursely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsps lime ponzu
1 container of sliced button mushrooms
½ cup of water
Roughly 1-2 hours before you pile your delicious ingredients into your crockpot, take your sliced chicken breast and throw it into a giant baggie to marinate.
In large baggie, throw your chicken into the baggie with 1 tablespoon of ginger, your package of lettuce wrap mix, 4 tablespoons of vinegar, quarter cup of ponzu, the juice of two limes, and half a cup of water. Let sit for 1-2 hours.
Yumtown, USA Soup
In your crockpot, throw the remaining ingredients minus some cilantro for a fabulous garnish. While those babies are in there melding together, take your chicken out and heat up a pan using a tablespoon of olive oil or cooking spray. Throw the chicken in the pan and let it brown, pretty much cooking all the way through. Once cooked, add it to your crockpot and leave it alone for 3 hours.
3 hours later, remove the lid and gorge. It’s delicious.
Sometimes things happen to me that inspire my inner monologue to start working like a rusted hamster wheel. One afternoon about a month ago, my inner monologue managed to make me burst out laughing. Luckily though, I was in my car. You see, I get in the habit of looking at people while they are driving. Not to judge, of course, but to make sure no one is watching me put on a killer rap concert for myself in my car. This is also how I caught a man knuckle-deep up his nose one day…he slowed down when he realized he was spotted, but I slowed down too to let him know that I thought it was funny because, why not?
Anyway, as I bust out my wicked sweet beats in my Ford Focus, I checked the car next to me to be sure they weren’t taking in a concert for free. This time, the joke was on me. This guy must have been auditioning for a new Cheech and Chong movie because he was DEFINITELY smoking a joint while driving. For once, I was silenced by what I had just seen. I mean, here I was worried that someone would see me dropping serious beats, meanwhile I’ve got an older man partaking in some earthly wares in the car next to me. Is this legal? Not here. Then I continued to fist pump and rock out because, well, this was the best part of the song.
This leads me to give up an easy recipe for a weedless cherry cobbler.
Weedless Crockpot Cherry Cobbler
So Good It’s Illegal?
1 box of vanilla cake mix (funfetti if you’re feeling festive)
1-2 cans of cherries (2 cans if you’re making it for me because I’ll eat all of the cherries)
8 tbsp’s of butter or butter substitute if it makes you feel like you’re eating on the lighter side like me
Turn your crockpot on hot and empty out those cans of cherries, but be sure you shove a spoon into one of the cans to get some cherries because they’re delicious. Next, throw that cake mix all up in there on top and do not stir. Finally, throw your dollops of butter over the top and put your lid on it before you get tempted to try some more of the cherries.
Let this sit for three hours. Once your inner alarm goes off three hours later, don’t wait for it to cool; get some of that in a bowl STAT! If some of the cherries drip down your chin like molten lava, just remember how delicious and easy this recipe is. And it makes your house smell good.
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There’s this unmentionable phenomenon that comes over me whenever I’m in the beauty section of any store, but specifically the grocery store. Perhaps it’s the way they masterfully arrange my beauty needs (or rather, my wants because 95% of the time I need nothing from that area), or perhaps its my feminine side kicking in telling me, “F$#k yeah, glitter!”. Who knows. All I have to say is that my inner voice kicked in today as I was perusing the wares at my local grocery store, but not in any way that anyone would find normal.
“I f&*$ing love makeup!” rang my inner voice as I turned the corner into, yet another, aisle of fabulous colors and sparkles.
Then it dawned on me. That inner voice wasn’t my tone at all, but the voice that mimicked an otherworldly being from the depths of Mordor. What the hell?
“Shit, that’s a good deal!” I said aloud as I reached for some eyeshadow and the coupon that stuck to it. This struck me immediately after saying it because, Jesus, I had just had a weird moment with my inner dialogue and now I’m saying ridiculous things out loud? I moved on after saying aloud, “In the basket”.
Like traveling through a video game, I advanced myself to the more difficult sections of the grocery store – food. Though I absolutely relish my time at the grocery store, as I love cooking, they are, at times, challenging. I often think of those moments as a kid at the old Farmer Jack’s in Dearborn Heights, Michigan where my mom would schlep her two kids along with her for three hour grocery shopping extravaganzas. I hated them. I always wanted to hang out in the beauty section because, why not, I was five years old and needed to garishly paint my face with every color under the sun…preferably blue.
Now, in my thirties, I find myself enjoying the grocery store more than any store – other than shoes or beauty stores. I mean, your feet don’t get bigger, so the shoe will fit, and makeup is just amazing because it can sometimes make you feel amazing, or else you find yourself treating yourself to a new pair of gym shorts instead of pants because the pants don’t fit.
So, with a grocery store trip like the one I encountered today, what would one find themselves facing when they returned home? Well, a fabulous new eyeshadow palette and lots of delicious goods to make something phenomenal for dinners this week.
On the menu tonight is a homemade meat sauce with a low-carb pasta substitute, my favorite, spaghetti squash. Dress and prep it right and you have your guests singing your praises and asking you how you made the squash and sauce taste so good.
Homemade Meat Sauce with Spaghetti Squash
*FYI, this medley made a ton of sauce, so make at your own risk because I’m not going to measure everything for you.
2 Cans of tomato sauce
2 Cans of tomato paste
1 box of low-sodium chicken broth
1 Can of diced tomatoes
1 Pound of 96/4 Ground Sirloin
1 Pound of 99/1 Ground Turkey
half an onion
1 container of sliced mushrooms
4-1 billion cloves of garlic, or however many you can handle
1 bunch of curly leaf parsley (finely chopped)
garlic red wine vinegar
grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter (or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)
zesty italian dressing mix
a pinch of whatever you choose (my “what is that?” spice happens to be cinnamon)
Heat up a pot under low heat and a pan on medium before you add anything to them. Be sure you’re heating up the right burners unlike me. Then you end up with sauce that has been sitting at room temperature for two hours as you throw sautéed ingredients in thinking it’s gonna be awesome sitting on the stove all day. Oh, and you end up heating up the lid that you rested on the burner that wasn’t supposed to be on at all.
Add your tomato sauce, about a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Let that hang out under low heat while you chop up onion, mushrooms, and garlic. In the other pan, coat it with olive oil and let it heat while you’re chopping. Once finished, add your onion and sprinkle seasoning salt on top. Push it around with whatever utensil works best for you, then turn around and start roughly chopping up your mushrooms. Add those bad boys, stir them around, and add some balsamic. Go back to the cutting board and chop up your garlic. Add it and sauté briefly because it loses its flavor and tastes too strong. Add it to your sauce.
Next, coat your pan with olive oil and let it sit for a few while you mix up your meats. Thoroughly spice your meats with garlic, seasoning salt, Grub Rub, cumin, Zesty Italian Dressing mix, and whatever else you might think would taste good. Mix it all up, then add it to the pan.
Meanwhile, spice up your sauce with all of the same spices plus italian seasoning. Once you have browned your meat, add it to your sauce.
Lastly, rinse your pan and return it to heat. Coat it with a thin layer of olive oil and add your chopped parsley, along with some italian seasoning. Stir it for just a couple minutes, then add it to your sauce. Stir your sauce and let simmer until the end of time…or until you’re ready to eat it.
Preheat your oven at 400*. Halve that bad boy and then gut it with a spoon just like you would while carving a pumpkin for Halloween. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray with cooking spray.
Once you’ve tackled the squash, rub down the flesh of it with olive oil. Next, sprinkle some seasoning salt, ground pepper, and garlic powder over it. Flip it flesh side down on the parchment and shove that thing in the oven for an hour.
Once baked, let it cool for a few. Next, pull out a bowl and a fork and go to town on the thing. It shreds very easily, so the work is minimal. Once you’ve removed all of the goodness from the shell, take that tablespoon of butter and add to your squash. While that melts, add some parmesan cheese and a bit more garlic powder. Mix it all together. Once complete, serve just like you would regular spaghetti and meat sauce.
So, a couple weeks ago, I had a hankering for some sweets. I remembered reading about easy and guiltless cake recipes, so I decided to make a special trip to the grocery store to fill the void.
The recipe that follows was simple and delicious, as you will see. Just know that one box of cake mix has ten servings and that those ten servings of nutrition facts do not take into account any ingredients that you are going to add, and, just because you may use a can of soda water in lieu of the rest of the ingredients, it does not give you carte blanche to eat almost the entire thing. Oh, did I give myself away? Let me explain.
You see, I get these insatiable cravings for sweets that must be fulfilled. My voracious appetite for sweets led me to a fateful day a couple weeks ago where my hands moved before my brain could process exactly what they were doing. Five minutes and 7.5 servings of cake later, I was ridden with guilt, shame, and an appetite that was fulfilled until that shame and guilt went away (roughly 8 hours).
I will warn you, though, that making this cake may lead to said shame, guilt, and self-loathing for an indeterminable amount of time. Results may vary. In this instance, there were no forks used, no dishes soiled, just hands and an appetite that would rival that of a zombie during the apocalypse. To that, I give you my recipe for disaster and delicious:
Guilt-Free (Until you eat all of it) Cake
1 box of any frigging cake mix you choose (in this instance, Cherry Chip Catastrophe was used)*
1 can of any soda of your choice (I used HEB lemon soda water with zero sodium and zero artificial sweeteners)
So, preheat your oven to 350*. Empty out the box of cake mix like you’re trying to put out a fire. Next, add the can of soda to your cake mix. Blow the dust off your hand mixer and start mixing away. You’ll do this for about two minutes, or until everything is combined.
Coat a cake pan or two with cooking spray (I used an 8X8 glass baking dish)
Pour your delicious mix into the dish, but not before tasting it because it’s good and that’s what you do when you bake.
Bake that thing for upwards of 35-40 minutes.
Remove from the oven once finished and, unlike me, wait for it to cool before gorging. Cut a piece out for your loved one and then eat the rest out of the dish. Enjoy.
*Cherry Chip Catastrophe is not an actual flavor, but a play on the guilt that followed.
Supposedly, when Stephen King wakes from a wacky dream, he writes it down and this is what most of his brilliant works are based on. What if I did the same and used those ideas for books? I think everyone would think I’m crazy, delusional, or just plain weird…if they don’t already.
I’m inspired with these thoughts after a run-in with a wild dream or two last night. Around 1:13AM this morning I awoke myself, my dog, and my hubby by yelling out. In my sleep-induced haze I tried to explain my dream.
“I was looking under the bed expecting to see a monster, but I saw a cat. I’m sorry I woke you.”
If you’re familiar with obscure and ridiculous B-rated horror from the 80s, you may be familiar with one of those Saturday night specials aptly named ‘Rawhead Rex’. Not familiar? Check it out above or watch the full movie on YouTube and imagine expecting that sex on wheels to crawl out from under a bed in your dreams; you’d yell out too. I’m not sure whose bed it was, though, since I’ve tried to shove everything under the sun under my bed…for cleaning purposes (much to the chagrin of my neat and calculating husband), so I couldn’t tell you where I was or why I was dreaming about this. I had also just watched The Walking Dead, so it could have been there. Who knows.
To adjourn this ridiculous and nonsensical post, I will supply you with a recipe for delicious:
Roasted Parmesan Butternut Squash
1 medium-sized butternut squash, diced
Garlic Powder (a light dusting)
Seasoned Salt (to taste)
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Pre-heat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In bowl, mix diced squash with olive oil and butter. Sprinkle squash onto the pan, careful to keep the pieces separate. Dust the squash with your garlic powder, seasoned salt, parmesan cheese, cayenne, and finish with the juice of the lemon. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes.