Sep 3, 2013

Something Like a Jambalasta


Although my return to blogging didn't start off on the cheeriest of notes, let's see how long this revival lasts. Don't call it a comeback.

When I first started on my domestic journey, I was so scared to stray off the recipe path. I haven't graduated to wing-it-cum-laude yet but I'm getting better at replacing ingredients with what I have on hand. Below is a really versatile dish that was adapted from this one and it hasn't failed me yet. Here's what I used tonight but feel free to mix and match with what tickles your pickle palet.

1 lb. pasta
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb hot sausage, casing removed and diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large jalepeno pepper, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup beer
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
hot sauce
2 palmfuls fresh thyme leaves
3/4 lb chicken breast, diced
1 can of salmon (6 oz.)
fat free greek yogurt

  1. Cook pasta to al dente. I had some left over spiral macaroni noodles in the pantry but penne or even long pasta will be juuuust fine. Pasta is pasta is delicious.
  2. While noodles cook, coat the bottom of a deep skillet with oil and heat over med-hi heat. Add the sausage and brown for a few minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving behind all the glorious fat. I like to whisper, "I have big plans for you," into the pan to spice things up.
  3. Add garlic, peppers, and onions to the pan. Season with salt and pepper then saute for ~5 mins or until they slightly soften. You don't want to cook them too long or they'll turn to mush by the end of the cooking process. Also, only keep the seeds and membranes of the jalepeno if you like things extra spicy like myself. Otherwise, remove them before chopping up the peppers and it should still give a nice kick.
  4. Add flour to the pan, stir, then let the mixture cook for a couple minutes. 
  5. Whisk in the beer and let the alcohol cook out for a couple more minutes. Wine works too but I think the dish turns out a little yummier with beer.
  6. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, hot sauce, and thyme. You can use whatever hot sauce you desire but I stay loyal to my rooster with green top.
  7. Bring sauce to bubble and add chicken and salmon. Original recipe calls for shrimp but I always have canned salmon from Costco in stock so that's what I use.
  8. Cook until chicken is firm, ~7 minutes, unless salmonella is your thing.
  9. Add a splash of milk and a few spoonfuls of non fat greek yogurt. I chose this combo to substitute heavy cream b/c I'd much rather have ice cream after dinner.
  10. Add the pasta to the sauce and top with the crispy hot sausage.
I'd love to hear how it turned out for you (but only if it's good news).


Aug 30, 2013

Still Alive

It's been so long since I've posted. I wouldn't be surprised if this little blog didn't make the end-of-Google-Reader-cut for most folks. S'okay. I really just wanted to write this while the details were still fresh in my mind. In the future, I may not want to remember the details but that's when the delete post option comes in handy.

This past Wednesday wound down like any other day. We fed the kids, bathed them, tucked them in after reading way more books than what was originally agreed upon. Matt and I ate dinner and talked about our day. Around 8 pm, Hew came downstairs, half asleep, complaining he was cold. Matt took him back up to his room and tucked him in extra tight as he inherited my tendencies to kick off all the covers in his sleep. Then around 10 pm, Hew got up again and came into our room while I was getting ready for bed. As I carried him back to his room, I  noticed he felt a little warm but he had complained about a stuffy nose that day so I dismissed it as the onset of a cold. "Probably from his kissing spree of random poles at the park," I said to Matt. He's a smoocher, that kid. About an hour later, Matt was on his way upstairs when he found Hew sitting on the steps. Matt scooped him up and was just about to scold him for getting up when he started shaking.

I was woken up by a hysterical husband who came charging into our room with our son in his arms. I watched in denial as the tiny body of my 3 year old convulsed and twitched. His mouth started to foam and his lips turned blue. I looked into his eyes searching for my sweet baby boy only to find a lifeless stare. While Matt frantically screamed, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH HIM?! WHAT DO I DO?!" I reached for my cell and dialed 911. When the dispatcher asked, "What's your emergency?" my response was almost involuntary. "I think my son is having a seizure." When the paramedics came, they were a vision to me. I don't mean to be cheesy or cliche but those men in uniform were like knights in shining armor riding in on a white horse with flashing lights. It was then that the reality of it all finally sank in and I became the hysterical mother you see in movies.

Hew suffered a febrile seizure. It only lasted a couple minutes but it truly felt like an eternity. We stayed at the hospital overnight where they monitored his temperature to make sure it didn't creep back up. His strep test came back negative and chest x-rays looked great. The saint of an ER doc (he answered alllllll my type-A questions with nothing but kindness) thought that Hew developed an upper respiratory infection (hence the stuffy nose and red throat) which led to his fever. Even though it was low grade and Hew has had higher fevers before, it was the quick spike that led to the febrile seizure (a learning from one of my annoying questions). Hew was back to his usual happy, chatty self before we even left the hospital. Despite a warning that he wouldn't have much of an appetite in the coming days, my son asked for pancakes and bacon as soon as we got home and polished his plate. He doesn't even remember the ambulance ride.

I had read that seizures are not uncommon among young children when they develop a fever and that it's partly because their brains are growing and developing at such a rapid rate, but all logic and reason vanished when I witnessed it happening to my baby. That sight is branded into my brain and I see a vivid replay of it every time I close my eyes. I can only hope the image will fade away with time. I look forward to the day that I won't be scared to open my son's door in fear of the worst, that my heart won't stop every time my child gets a fever.



Jan 22, 2013

Chicken & Biscuits

This recipe caught my attention because it's the lazy man's chicken pot pie. Then I made it even lazier. Because when there are more Goldfish on the kitchen floor than in the box and the dirty dishes are starting to resemble a Jenga tower in the kitchen sink, corner-cutting is in order. Next time I think I'm going to cut the number of biscuits to 5 in order to achieve the optimal biscuit to chicken ratio.

  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped to bite-size
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and chopped to bite-size
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 can store bought biscuits (I recommend Pillsbury Grands and all their glorious, flaky layers)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
Butter or spray a large casserole dish and preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, warm up a little extra virgin olive oil over med-hi heat.

Season the chicken with salt & pepper then brown in the pan for ~5 mins, stirring occasionally. Transfer the chicken and its juices to a bowl & set aside. 

Add a little more EVOO to the same pan and heat it over med-hi heat. Add the onions and carrots, season lightly with salt & pepper, and cook for a few minutes until they soften. Add the green beans, garlic, season lightly again, and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the milk. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour into the broth until its completely dissolved then add to the pan. Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and cook for a couple more minutes until everything starts to thicken. Add the chicken and its juices back to the pan along with the thyme. Stir to combine. At this point you can season with salt, pepper to taste if you need but I found that the previous layers of seasoning was enough. Spoon the mixture into the casserole dish and top with the biscuits. 

Bake for ~15 minutes or until the top of the biscuits are golden brown and scream to be eaten. 

Jan 16, 2013

Taco Tuesday

...but posting about it on a Wednesday. Tacos are one of my fav go-to meals at times when I'm feeling hyper-lazy. You like that oxymoron? Thought so. My only complaint used to be the heinous levels of sodium in pre-packaged taco seasoning (unless you happen to like water retention and cankles) until I came across this gem. The recipe below is scaled up to make a bigger batch because "sensible portions" are profane words in my household. Mix up all the ingredients in a bowl, store in an air tight container, and a Mexican fiesta will be no further than a pantry away.
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbl ground cumin
  • 1 tbl + 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbl + 1 tsp pepper
Brown up your ground meat o' choice in a skillet, toss a few palmfuls of taco seasoning in, cut up some 'maters and 'ocados for topping, and you have dinner before Chopped gets to its dessert round.

Dec 20, 2012

Quick Takes rev 8

What's this, you ask? It's a long overdue blog post for which y'all have been clicking refresh on your readers over the last 4 months. And to make sure I don't go impressing anyone with originality or depth , I've put together a list of moments and thought bubbles from this past week that only I will find funny and am linking it up with one of the prettiest redheads I know, know of, cyber-stalk. That came out a smidgen creepier than I intended. Moving on...

Overheard on the elevator at work (names changed to protect the clueless):
Dilbert: "Yea so I always seem to fail in the Christmas gift department with my wife so this year, I decided to think completely out of the box."
Sherman: "What did you get her?"
Dilbert: "A welder."
Sherman: *silence*
Dilbert: "Well she's always bringing home these random things made of metal to decorate the house with so I figured this way, she can just make her own. She's really creative like that."
Um. Good luck with that Richard Suave.

Wednesday was a proud day in the history of my motherland. The first woman president was elected into office! Now, as with all things related to politics, there are folks who celebrate and folks who prefer the taste of hater-ade. Not everyone reacted with such enthusiasm like the hair flag lady. Putting all the partisan/platform issues aside, I'm still marveling at the fact that a country where open-mouthed kissing just barely made its way onto network television within the last decade or so elected a woman into power. I'm not equating risque TV to gender equality. I'm simply pointing out how conservative Korean society has remained even well into the 21st century. It's quite miraculous that South Korea has trailblazed past 'Muricka in female political leadership. Deh-han-ming-guk! Hwy-ting! (I clearly need to download Korean characters because that just looks ridiculous.)


After years of desparately clutching to pre-written instructions, I've made some progress in the be-adventurous-when-cooking department and whipped up these turkey balls on the fly for dinner with not a Food Network recipe in sight! They came out browned, flavorful, and moist which is the trifecta of meatball cooking (according to Food Network). I threw them in some marinara then poured it over spaghetti squash and proceded to eat 3 servings. It's ok because the 'noodles' are actually veggies and turkey meat has no calories. The bread in the meatballs don't count as carbs because you can't see them.

Top: Stage 1
Bottom: Stage 2

These pictures show the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Post-Partum Hair Loss. A year has passed and hope has finally been restored. A world free of brillo-pad hairline is a reality, at least until the next post partum diaster. I have until next Thursday to decide if I want to better camoflauge the quasi-bangs with a more blunt variety.


It's the end of the Jorts era. As I was loading up bags of clothes/toys destined for St. Vincent de Paul, I noticed Matt had made a few contributions. Surprised,  (since he's a clothes hoarder and would still have pants with leather pockets hanging in the closet if it wasn't (weren't?) for my obsessive auditing/purging of clothes), I took a closer look to make sure I wasn't mistaking a laundry pile as a donation pile. That's when I saw an all too familiar set of shorts with 'Sean John' embroidered on the side. I shed a tear and poured out a little coffee to show some respect.

H followed me into the water closet (yes, I could've just said 'bathroom' but I like to use overly-specific names for everyday things) to provide a soundtrack of "Gangnam Style" for me to go #1 to. He was in the middle of his rendition of the chorus when he made a revelation in human anatomy: 
"Heeeeeeeeey, it's a ladle. Oh-oh-oh-oh, oppa...Mommy, where does your pee come out of? Your butt?"


You may have to worry about keeping up with the Jones' but for me, it's the Griswold's. When it comes to Christmas lights, these neighbors don't play around. Let me break it down: on the right is a life-sized gingerbread house with a life-sized Santa mannequin inside looking out at you. What nightmares are made of, I tell you. On the roof is a giant manger scene complete with every farm animal known to man. (Although they clearly didn't get the memo that you're not supposed to put baby Jesus out until after Christmas. Don't mind me, I'm just being a Christmas decoration etiquette nazi.) To top it off, the tree of lights on the left is set to blink in sync with Christmas music blaring through speakers, also on their roof, for all of Sun Groves to jam to.

On that note, I hope everyone has a vurry murry Chrimp-mus. Until next time. I'll try to keep it less than 4 months but I'm making no promises.