Huge hit with the kids…It was actually 1/3 Buffalo chicken for me…but they polished off their portion and were looking for more BBQ…next all BBQ!
Huge hit with the kids…It was actually 1/3 Buffalo chicken for me…but they polished off their portion and were looking for more BBQ…next all BBQ!
“Dating is like trying to make a meal out of leftovers. Some leftovers actually get better when they’ve had a little time to mature. But others should be thrown out right away, No matter how you try to warm them up, they’re never as good as when they were new.”
― Lisa Kleypas, Sugar Daddy
Disclaimer to my parents and to my kids. I assume you really are not interested or care to hear about your daughter/mother’s dating adventures. Although, I realize it’s kind of like a train wreck…and we all know we try to look away, but just can’t…but, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I’m single. I’m forty-something and I’m single. I’m a mother of four, I am forty-something and I am single. I am a mother of a toddler who is one of four children, I am forty-something and I am single. I work two jobs, I am a mother of a toddler who is one of four children, I am forty-something and I am single. Wanna go on a date?
Now, the funny thing is I have not once sat home on a Saturday night pining for a date. When I am home it is because that’s where I choose to be…and I know a date is only a phone call away. Or an online message. However, there’s not really a large pool of folks who would gladly take on me and all I have that goes with me…and the limitations that go with being with me. They exist, but are far and few between. There is, however, a large pool of guys that would enjoy a night out…or in…and then go back to life as usual. Thanks anyway. Been there, done that. Check my snap chats and text messages. Those invites are aplenty…or at least until I just wrote that. I imagine that might slow my text alerts at 10:30pm.
Back to the small pool that would take on the whole package, I then need to do my own weeding out which generally leaves me with a nearly empty swimming hole. How do I weed them out? Well that’s basically finding everything wrong with them that might inhibit a long term relationship, or even a short term one. Red flags we call them. I feel like a fricking referee in my head throwing all the flags around while on a date, talking to or emailing these poor souls! Nobody stands a chance.
That’s not to say my red flag throwing is not spot on in most cases. Let’s explore that.
I was with my youngest’s father for about 7 years I guess…but in the middle of that time we had split up for a year and a half. I found myself truly single for the first time in my adult life and about to date. I was a thirty-something at the time…three children. Looking around me and knowing there was no freaking way I was interested in anyone I knew…my online dating adventures began (insert dramatic sigh).
POF, Match.com, eharmony…even christiansingles. I tried them all and probably still have active profiles on the bulk of them. I was officially dubbed “One-Date-Wendy” by my peers. For various reasons, that’s as far as it would go. I actually got to a second and even a third date with a few…but never a love connection. Why? A lot had to do with my well conditioned flag throwing arm, but mostly to do with my ridiculous adventures. You know, the one with photos from a decade and 75 lbs ago. The one who had three martinis to my one glass of wine and got very upset when I checked my phone…accusing it to be my “escape” to get away from him. Why yes, sir…it was. Buh-bye! “Mr. Disney” (yes, I nicknamed them all) who I remain friends with, made it to date two. By second date, I mean making out in the backseat of a compact car in a parking lot at the beach… That mighta worked in high school, buddy. In his defense, and mine, he lived up to his nickname and moved to Orlando, got a job at Disney and married his princess in front of the castle!
Not all my “one dates” were from online, either. “Construction Guy” smiled and waved to me everyday on my way to work…finally flagging me down to ask me if I was single. Yes! I was! Super hot, hard hat wearing, tan, muscular armed engineer wanted to meet me for coffee. Day-um. Too bad I learned during coffee that his wife was not aware of their up and coming divorce!!
I have more stories than I know what to do with. So, what I have learned?
Chill with the flag throwing. Mr. Right Now can teach you many lessons, about life and yourself, on the way to Mr. Right. And who knows…he might even drop the “Now”.
Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible.
I was just asked the recipe for my vegetarian chili…you know, the one where my meat eaters hear the word “vegetarian” and turn up there noses. Until they try it! If you are a vegetarian, this is a great recipe! If you are a carnivore, this is a great recipe!! The portabellas give this chili a meatiness and you don’t even miss the beef. And that even goes for my fungus hating audience! A little heat and a nice depth of flavor in this one. Enjoy!
A slight variation of Emeril’s from the food network:
Total Time: 55 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large chopped yellow onion
1 large chopped red bell pepper
2 to 3 cloves minced garlic
2 to 3 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced, depending upon taste
1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears) – This time of year you can get it in the organic produce
1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean and cubed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespooon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 large (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable, chicken or beef stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Sour cream or strained plain yogurt, garnish
Diced avocado, garnish
Shredded cheddar, garnish
Chopped green onions, garnish
In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and serrano peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes and stir well. Add the beans, tomato sauce and stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.
To serve ladle the chili into the bowls. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and spoonful of avocado. Sprinkle with chees and green onions and serve with warmed tortilla chips.
Comfort food at it’s finest!! The changes I made were that I substituted the saffron with dried basil and I used half and half instead of heavy cream….and I doubled it. I also used american cheese on the sandwich as it’s what I had on hand…and added a slice of genoa salami. No need to make as croutons…although you can and it’s a neat idea, but it just gets soggy and it’s an extra step.
Here’s a picture we took of ours tonight! Enjoy!
Easy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. Copyright (c) 2012 by Ina Garten. By Arrangement with Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. for Food Network Magazine
Easy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons
Total Time: 50 min Prep:10 min Cook: 40 min Yield:4 to 6 servings Level: Easy
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
Large pinch of saffron threads
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup orzo
1/2 cup heavy cream
Grilled Cheese Croutons (see below)
In a large pot or Dutch oven such as Le Creuset, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, saffron, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes. (It will finish cooking in the soup.) Drain the orzo and add it to the soup. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Serve hot with Grilled Cheese Croutons scattered on top.
Grilled Cheese Croutons
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country white bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
Heat a panini grill. Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with the melted butter, being sure to butter the corners. Turn the slices over and pile Gruyere on two of the slices. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the Gruyere, buttered sides up.
Grill the sandwiches on the panini grill for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute and cut into 1-inch cubes.
The 11th of each month leaves me listening to this song. Not one has gone by yet that I’ve missed. This 11th marks 17 months since Michael passed away. We spent our early times together in the establishment I worked in…mainly a Karaoke bar…listening to the DJ’s serenading us with this song we requested. It spoke to us and we loved to hear it, dance to it…and sometimes Mike would sing it….and I use “sing” loosely!!! It evolved into a song that when on the job site, Michael would hear this song (as he often would with his classic radio stations blaring!) and immediately call me. When I would answer, there was no “hello”…just music in the background until the song ended. And if I couldn’t answer, I would get the voicemail that played the whole song to me.
I found this rendition tonight. I thought it was beautiful. Not only because this song is so special to me, but because I get to hear this song I love in a new way. My love and hurt is still there…but different now. This composition of Leather and Lace is a perfect expression of that.
I got this recipe from Chow.com and have made it several times. Super easy and delicious if you love fried chicken! Paired with corn on the cob and cranberry sauce…everyone was happy! The buttermilk soak makes the chicken so tender and juicy. I was actually able to soak this Friday night and cooked it according to the recipe the next day. I packaged it when cooled in an airtight container in the fridge. Tonight when I got home (Monday night) I heated it in the oven preheated to 375 for about 25 minutes while the corn was steaming. Dinner was on the table in 1/2 an hour…Perfect!
My photo from tonight:
Ideal for a picnic, this crispy cornflake-coated chicken needs no utensils to be enjoyed. Marinating it overnight in rich buttermilk and a heaping dose of hot sauce makes for moist, flavorful, tender chicken with a kick of spice.
What to buy: Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs are the perfect size for coating chicken. If you can’t find them, you can use 5 cups of cornflake cereal and process it in the food processor until finely ground, or place it in a plastic bag and crush the flakes with a rolling pin.
Game plan: If you cook the chicken just before leaving on your picnic, transport it warm, uncovered, in a basket lined with paper towels and foil. If you make it a day ahead, let it cool, then refrigerate it overnight. Pack the cold chicken in a plastic container lined with parchment paper.
The chicken needs to marinate overnight, so start this recipe a day in advance.
Beverage pairing: Agrapart & Fils Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, France. Champagne is a great match for fried chicken, oven or otherwise, for three reasons. One, the bubbles just seem to go wonderfully with the texture of the batter. Two, the lemony flavor complements the chicken. And three, there’s the pleasure of the high-low: Champagne for chicken, not caviar.
Yes, busy Moms need a plan. As a single Mom who works two jobs and has three children at home…I definitely need a lot of plans. First and foremost, I need a menu planned for the week and a grocery list built off of the menu. My menu is generally compiled with three things in mind; what’s already in my pantry, what’s on sale, and what the kids are begging for as a dinner idea. Those three things in addition to keeping it quasi healthy and to continue to introduce different vegetables to the kids. It usually takes me hours to make the list and execute the shopping. I am hoping by posting my menu ideas here it will help me with my planning down the road and minimize the time commitment for me in the future!!!
This week’s Menu follows…however, as much as I plan, I usually sway off the meal plan one night a week due to varying reasons. Lets see how I do now that I have put it to print! (Please note that I do not add a lot of whole grain to my meals as my kids are all grazers and get enough of that with sandwiches and snacks…usually whole grain breads or crackers of some sort. I myself am trying to limit the gluten in my diet just for weight maintenance reasons.)
Beef Fajitas with Chipotle Sauce (for the little guy I will serve the sliced beef with cut up cucumbers and yogurt)
Oven Fried Buttermilk Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Cranberry-sauce
Apple Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Mashed Cauliflower
Lightened up Chicken Broccoli Alfredo with a Caesar Salad
Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons served with Carrot Sticks
Egg Salad Sandwiches With Melon Wedges
I will add recipes throughout the week for this menu. Tonight’s meal? The Beef Fajitas. I had a New York Sirloin in the freezer that was on sale a week or two ago…it was soooo tender! The kids gobbled this up, although they opted for regular sour cream as opposed to my spicy lightened up version. I had a mini margarita to accompany my little Mexican dish. Every one was happy!
Beef Fajitas with Chipotle Sauce
This needs to be started earlier in the day or the night before to properly marinate the beef.
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Whisk together all ingredients and put into resealable bag. Add beef and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
2-3 lbs beef. I used NY Sirloin and it was Fab.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 flour tortillas
Shredded Cheddar and Chipotle Sauce (recipe follows) for serving
Take the marinated beef out of the fridge and let come to room temperature…about 20-30 minutes. Broil the marinated steak in the oven for about 7 minutes per side or until desired temperature. Transfer to cutting board and after letting rest for 5 minutes, slice the steak into very thin strips.
While the steak is broiling, heat the olive oil in large saute pan. Add onions and peppers and stir, coating them with the olive oil. Add the chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper and continue to stir well over medium high heat until onions are nicely browned and peppers are tender (about 10 minutes).
Warm the tortillas per package directions. Pile the veggies and beef on a platter and let everyone assemble the fajitas with the cheese and chipotle sauce and devour them!!
Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce (canned)
1/2 Cup Light Sour Cream
Take one pepper out of the can and cut into a very small dice. Add to sour cream and stir well. Serve and enjoy! (Warning…a bit of heat!!)
I read this article with tears streaming down my face. The comments that followed made me ill. People were disagreeing with the author…belittling addiction and that it is someone’s free will to stop drinking/drugging. Clearly these folks have never been touched by the disease of addiction. I have. I have seen a man deteriorate before my eyes. Anyone who knew him saw the way he looked at his children and the way he spoke of them. Given the chance not to live in his hell and be here right now to watch them grow…I have no doubt that is 100% what he’d do. Right on Corrigan.
hilip Seymour Hoffman’s death is the worst. Seriously. In much the same way that Chris Kelly’s was. Or Cory Monteith’s. And if you’re now looking at me like I’m crazy for even using Hoffman and Monteith in the same article, hear me out: It’s not because they were equal talents. Your opinion on that probably depends on whether you’re 15 or 35. This is not about losing one of the greatest talents of our time. Their deaths are horrific because they died alone, victims of an incredibly lonely disease. And what’s worse, they didn’t have to be alone. Loving significant others, loving children, admiration from everyone around them- if they could, I’m sure they would have chosen those things.
My dad was my biggest fan. He was the biggest fan of all of his kids. I was probably the only one who realised it, and I understand why. But when he died, wasted away and a shell of his former self after a lethal fall, the only possessions he had were photos of us and letters we’d written him decades ago. He would have liked to have been at our sporting events and our graduations, but instead he was drinking himself to death in a second-floor apartment in my hometown, bipolar disorder only adding immediacy to the fatal inevitabilities of his alcoholism. Anyone who thinks dying from an overdose is selfish has a weird idea of what an addict wants out of life. There comes a point at which drinking, drug use, all that – they’re not fun anymore. Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn’t out partying. He was alone in his bathroom, compelled. Cory Monteith in his hotel room. Chris Kelly in his living room. All the money in the world, all the adoring fans in the world, and, to see the comments people make on their deaths, they were selfish assholes who chose drugs over the people who loved them.
I guarantee that every time Hoffman put that needle in his arm, he felt guilty. He felt conflicted. He craved that high that would take the pain away, but knew the pain he caused himself and those around him every time he took a hit.
We all have destructive habits. If we’re lucky, it’s watching too much TV when it’s inhibiting our productivity, or looking at porn when we think it’s a sin, or lying, cheating, overeating. If we’re lucky, our addictions won’t kill us. The majority of us can go through a partying phase and then grow up, settle down, and put down the sauce. But for an unfortunate group, the need to keep going becomes as pervasive as the need to eat or sleep. And we call them selfish, as if they would prefer to be a slave to the thing that’s ruining everything good in their lives.
When tragedies like these deaths happen to celebrities, they should be a wake-up call for the rest of us. If someone who has everything going for them can be so horribly enslaved to what they know could kill them, imagine what it’s like for the average addict. Addiction is bigger than class, race, religion, or any other factor that one might hope would reduce its captive hold. Succumbing to it isn’t selfish. It’s horribly sad and extremely difficult to prevent, even though it is, in theory, preventable. The way we talk about a celebrity who ODs says a lot about the way we think about people who are struggling around us. It’s time we tried to understand struggles we don’t endure ourselves. It’s called empathy, and we could all use a lot more of it.
This post originally appeared on Electric Feast.
I have been taking a little blog break the last month or two. I am bouncing in my head how to capture the adventures of the weeks over the holidays…but I am still not sure which angle to take in purging it here. So, until then I figured sharing a recipe would be a safe way to ease back in to my writing. (Not to mention I have been hounded for this recipe since posting the food porn picture to Facebook!)
It was a snow day and I was home with the kids. I made their traditional breakfast sandwich. English muffins, egg, ham and cheese (Zzzzz). Same way I’d been making it for years. After a few trips to the fridge while assembling breakfast, ingredients kept jumping out at me and I started to get a hankering for something a little more than the boring sandwich my kids were happily gobbling up. This was going to be my fist attempt at Eggs Benedict. But with a twist. With all my years cooking I had never even poached an egg!! Easy peasy. The sauce was more involved than I had expected, but definitely worth it!! I have to say, when ordering it in a restaurant, I NEVER eat more than half and I always take the rest home for the dog. Not this time…I ate the whole thing! Then I couldn’t help but take a long winter’s nap!
I will definitely be making this again when I want a treat! I will work on a lighter version in the near future for those of us who like to watch the calorie intake. And for those of you who don’t…stick with this! Yum!
Wendy’s California Style Eggs Bennie
For the hollandaise sauce:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (I know…YIKES! Let this be a splurge day!)
6 large egg yolks (Yikes again!)
1/2 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
For the eggs benedict:
2 eggs, poached (recipe and tips following)
2 English muffins, split, toasted and buttered
4 slices thin sliced deli honey ham (I used Inspiration wildflower honey ham…delish)
4 avocado slices, 1/4 inch thick
4 tomato slices, 1/4 inch thick
2 slices Provolone, cut in 1/2
For garnish: Sea salt, scallions, black pepper
For the hollandaise sauce:
1. In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water set on medium heat, whisk the butter and egg yolks together until smooth.
2. Very…very slowly, add the 1/2 cup boiling water to the mixture, whisking constantly. (You do not want the eggs to cook).
3. Whisking constantly, heat the mixture until it is thickened and reads 160 degrees on your instant-read thermometer. (It took mine about 10 minutes or so).
4. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
5. Gently whisk in the lemon juice, black pepper, garlic salt, sea salt, cayenne and nutmeg. Serve warm.
6. To assemble the Eggs Benedict: Place the 1/2 slice cheese on top of the toasted English muffin. Warm the ham slices in a fry pan and place one slice on top of the cheese. Top with avocado, then tomato and poached egg. Lightly (or not !!) drizzle the hollandaise sauce over top. Garnish with fresh scallions, salt, and pepper, if using.
For poaching the eggs add a teaspoon of vinegar to the just boiling water. I used rice vinegar, but I am told you can use any type. This helps hold the egg together while cooking. Use the top lid of a mason jar and drop that into the gently boiling water. Carefully crack the egg into a teacup and then hold the cup at the water’s surface and carefully put the egg in the water over the mason jar lid. The egg should settle right into the lid. Cover the pan and remove from the heat and let sit for four minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the egg and lid out of the water and remove the lid from the egg. A perfectly round and perfectly cooked poached egg! Ta da!!