Category Archives for "Food"

Italian Brunch Torte recipe! Also, I bitch slapped some obstinate bakeware.

(Full recipe at bottom of post)

Up until last week, I had never owned a springform pan because I don’t trust bakeware that comes in a package marked “Some Assembly Required.” This isn’t Christmas and I’m not Santa or any of his elves. I once assembled a bike for Zoe and had eleven screws left over. I wouldn’t let her ride it without first blowing up all of our inflatable pool toys and duct taping them around her body, just as a safety precaution. I spent many an afternoon chasing what appeared to be a gigantic pink octopus humping a grumpy green alligator on training wheels all over the neighborhood because Zoe refused to learn how to use her breaks.

I don’t like to bake and I readily admit that I’m easily daunted by the likes of a cookie sheet so I did everyone a favor and stayed far away from the springform pan and by everyone, I mean all those good people on the eastern seaboard who don’t care to hear FOR SHIT’S SAKE, WHO INVENTED THIS STUPID GODDAMN THING followed by loud banging every minute on the minute from a small kitchen in western New York. And anytime I had a hankering for cheesecake, I’d simply throw away everything in my pantry and slash a tire or two so that when Nate came home, I could declare that we had nothing in the house for dinner and I couldn’t get to Wegmans because some batshit crazy lunatic had slashed my tires and then I wouldn’t be lying. Then we’d go to The Cheesecake Factory for a bite to eat and when I say bite, I mean we’d gorge ourselves until our arteries begged for mercy and lapsed into cholesterol-laden comas.

But then last week, a friend showed me this Taste of Home recipe for Italian Brunch Torte which calls for the use of a springform pan and it sounded so delicious that I decided right then and there to get over myself and stop being a big, whiny crybaby and buy the stupid pan already so I could make the torte for dinner because holy hell, have you priced tires lately?

If you’re not a big, whiny crybaby too,  here’s what you’re going to need:.

  • 2 tubes (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 pkg (6 oz.) fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (I used a carton because I love me some ‘shrooms, even when they’re not hallucinogenic)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 lb. thinly sliced deli ham
  • 1/2 lb. thinly sliced hard salami
  • 1/2 lb. sliced provolone cheese
  • 2 jars (12 oz each) roasted sweet red peppers, drained, sliced and patted dry

After you buy all the ingredients and no one takes you up on your offer to pay them a million dollars to make this dish for you, here’s what you do:

Assemble the springform pan. This took me about 45 minutes because I am mechanically, mentally and height challenged, although I’m not sure the height deficiency came into play here.

Grease the pan, if necessary. Mine was non-stick so this was unnecessary for me. Yay!

Place your pan on heavy-duty aluminum foil and wrap it around the pan. Just wrap the outside of the pan. Don’t do what I did which was to wrap the inside of the pan as well. In my defense, the directions said “securely wrap the foil around the pan” and I didn’t know what direction constituted “around” so I decided to err on the side of caution and wrap the pan in every possible direction I could think of.

Who knew I was an overachiever? I mean, besides everyone?

I’m not sure what purpose the foil serves but if it’s supposed to catch any liquid that might leak through the bottom of the pan, it doesn’t work. But only for people who are named Andy, who are mechanically, mentally and height challenged and who assemble their springform pans in such a way as to allow liquid to seep out the bottom, through the foil so that it splatters onto the bottom of their ovens, burns to a crisp, sets off their smoke alarms and makes them question their very existence.

It probably works for everybody else though.

For the remainder of this post, you are under strict orders to pretend that the foil inside the pan does not exist.

IT IS A FIGMENT OF YOUR IMAGINATION.

Now, separate one tube of crescent dough into eight separate triangles, press them onto the bottom of the pan and then bake at 350° for about 10-15 minutes or until set.

You’ll probably notice that my dough is not triangular. It’s rectangular. That’s because by mistake, I bought crescent rounds instead of crescent rolls because the packages look exactly the same and sit right next to each other on the store shelf. PILLSBURY HATES ME.

Also? The rounds aren’t round at all, they’re really long rectangles, as seen above. Which is no big deal considering the rolls aren’t rolls either, they’re actually triangles. PILLSBURY HATES GEOMETRY TOO.

Way to screw with my torte, Pillsbury. And about a bazillion years of elementary math too.

Just so you know, the rounds/rectangles worked just fine and were probably easier to use than the rolls/triangles.

BITE ME, PILLSBURY.

While the dough is baking, saute the spinach and mushrooms in oil in a large skillet until the spinach is wilted.

If you’re like me, you never cook spinach and therefore have no idea what it’s supposed to look like when it’s wilted.

If you’re like me, you’re too uptight to leave the skillet for even a minute to Google images of wilted spinach for fear of burning the house down.

If you’re like me, you then do the next best thing which is to picture yourself getting hot and heavy with your husband and at the exact moment he thinks you’re going to scream OH MY GOD, YES, YES, YES out of sheer ecstasy, you instead surprise him by excitedly shrieking OH MY GOD, DID YOU TAKE THE CHICKEN OUT OF THE FREEZER LIKE I ASKED?

Voila! There you have the perfect image of wilted spinach, which I’m assuming looks something like disappointed, green penis.

You’re supposed to then place the mushroom and spinach mixture between two paper towels and blot to remove the excess liquid, but I think that’s only if you use frozen spinach? I used fresh so I skipped that step since I didn’t have any excess liquid.

And wow, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say that more often?

In a large bowl, whisk six of the eggs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and pepper.

Would you believe I almost cleaned my counter and wiped the sides of the bowl before taking this shot?

I know!

I blame it on accidentally snorting pepper and sneezing half my brains out of my head.

By now, your dough should be pre-cooked so you can started layering. Start with half of the ham.

And while you’re at it, STOP LOOKING AT THE FOIL.

Don’t think I don’t see you.

Then layer half of the salami.

Be sure to take a moment to appreciate the symmetry of the dish at this time.

Then layer half of the provolone cheese.

Be sure to notice the instantaneous and absolute asymmetry that will occur with this layer. You might have to take a moment and sit down to fully appreciate the horror of it all. If so, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask your youngest child to slather Cortizone all over your face and stab you in the heart with an Epi Pen.

Continue layering with half of the roasted sweet red peppers.

You don’t want to know how long I spent trying to get all those little black specks off of those suckers before having a come-to-Jesus talk with my psyche.

Forty-five minutes.

Just in case you did want to know.

By the way, these are the roasted sweet red peppers I used. The recipe calls for 24 ounces but I only used about 3/4 of this entire can and it was more than enough.

My kids yelling EWWWWWW, GROSS! DO WE HAVE TO EAT THAT had nothing to do with my decision.

Continue with your layering. This is half of the mushroom and spinach mixture.

Is it just me or do the mushrooms look sort of like small penises?

What is it about this mixture that makes me think of genitalia?

Should I be worried?

Are you?

Next, layer half of the egg mixture.

Then, repeat all the layers.

After layering, separate the second tube of crescent dough and cover the pan with it. Make sure to yell KISS MY RHOMBUS ASS, PILLSBURY while you do so, just on principle alone. Plus, it’s a great stress reliever.

Whisk the remaining egg and brush it over the dough.

Bake it at 350° for about 60 to 75 minutes. I had to cover it loosely with a sheet of foil after about fifteen minutes to prevent burning. You’re supposed to bake it until it reaches 160° but if you can find a thermometer in my kitchen island drawer without stabbing yourself underneath your fingernails with a cooking utensil, go for it! I, for one, am allergic to tetanus so I just baked it for about 70 minutes until it was golden brown,which was right around the time I almost asphyxiated on the smoke from the drippings.

KISS MY RHOMBUS ASS TOO, INCORRECTLY ASSEMBLED SPRINGFORM PAN.

Here it is, right out of the oven.

I let it sit for twenty minutes before cutting into it but as you can see, there was still some liquid on the bottom. This was quite surprising, considering the bottom of my oven looked like a forest fire had pooped all over it.

*slappity slap slap slap*

That was me, bitch slapping the springform pan.

TAKE THAT, INCORRECTLY ASSEMBLED YET STILL STUPID SPRINGFORM PAN.

It was delicious, albeit a little salty, maybe from the ham? Salami? Cheese? Profuse sweat and anxiety?

I loved it and would definitely make it again. Nate liked it quite a bit and would absolutely eat it again. The kids tolerated it and would most likely holler UGH, TORTE AGAIN? CAN WE BE ADOPTED?

Here’s the full recipe from tasteofhome.com. I hope you enjoy it!.

Italian Brunch Torte

  • 2 tubes (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 pkg (6 oz) fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 2sp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp peper
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced hard salami
  • 1/2 lb. sliced provolone cheese
  • 2 jars (12 oz each) roasted sweet red peppers, drained, sliced and patted dry

 

  1. Place a greased 9 inch springform pan on a double thickness of heavy duty foil (about 18 inches square).  Securely wrap foil around pan. Separate one tube of crescent dough into eight triangles; press onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until set.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook spinach and mushrooms in oil until spinach is wilted. Place between two paper towels and blot to remove excess liquid. In a large bowl, whisk six eggs, Parmesan cheeese, Italian seasoning and pepper.
  3. Layer prepared crust with half of the ham, salami, provolone cheese, red peppers, spinach mixture and egg mixture. Repeat layers.
  4. Separate remaining crescent dough; press triangles together to form a top crust. Whisk remaining egg; brush over dough. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 1 to 1¼ hours or until a thermometer reads 160°. Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; remove sides of pan. Let stand for twenty minutes before slicing.

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Beware the wrath of the Little Red Hen

Remember a few months ago when I attempted to teach my kids a life lesson about the value of good customer service by complaining to a restaurant manager? And my kids decided instead that they’d prefer to avoid the embarrassment and humiliation of being associated with *that* mom? And they remained ignorant heathens by running like bats out of hell to sit in the car so they could pretend they were orphans? Except that they were only half orphans because their heathen of a father sat right beside them, pretending to be a widow?

Last Saturday, life went déjà vu all over us in local restaurant, one that we frequent whenever I start defining marriage as 101 Different Ways to Cook Chicken which is right around the time my family starts reciting grace as Dear God, we thank You for this food. Andy hey, if You could see to it that all chickens are run over by trucks the next time they cross the road, that’d be great. Amen.

The four of us were seated and had our orders taken almost immediately and then we waited so long before we saw our server again that I think Helena might have started puberty by the time we got our breadsticks.

Another eternity passed and I was about to enter full-blown menopause when the following events occurred:

  • Our server suddenly appeared out of nowhere to tell us that our meals would be right up, they were just “working” on my steak.
  • Three sets of brown eyes turned to stare accusingly at me.
  • I discovered I never got the memo about spontaneously morphing into a vegetarian before I ordered.
  • I pointed out that the menu specified dinners were “cooked to order” and how was I supposed to know that meant they grew their own cattle from scratch every night?
  • They continued to stare at me so I got all defensive and reminded them that the steak in my “steak and caesar salad” was only four ounces and not an entire bovine so really, the steak was more like a garnish than an actual steak, and since I ordered it medium, it probably took ten times longer to make their pasta than it did to throw my four ounces of garnish on the grill for 45 seconds. Then I demanded that they stop acting as if I ordered a 36 oz. filet of Brontosaurus because last time I checked, I wasn’t wasn’t wearing off-the-shoulder animal fur and sporting some red beehive bouffant and married to some chubby loud mouth with fat feet who insisted on calling me Wilma whenever he wanted to get his yabba dabba doo on.
  • Helena asked what a yabba dabba doo was and could she have one?
  • The three of them feigned starvation and started licking the bread crumbs off the table.
  • I may have said something to the effect that if they were that hungry, they could bite me. I’m a little foggy on this one.

Shortly thereafter, our meals arrived and I discovered my four ounces of garnish were cold. At that point, the following events occurred:

  • I scanned the room for ten minutes playing Where’s Waldo with our server.
  • When she finally came to our table, I politely explained our predicament.
  • She pursed her lips, sighed, rolled her eyes, grabbed my plate and walked away in a manner that was 65% huffy and 35% puffy, leaving me 213% flabbergasted.
  • I spent the next few minutes searching for my jaw which had fallen to the floor.
  • Nate, Zoe and Helena played a game in which the winner would get twenty dollars if he/she guessed the last time I went out to eat without incident.
  • No one won twenty dollars.
  • Our server returned five minutes later with (1) my original plate of steak and caesar salad and (2) a shitty attitude.
  • I immediately noticed that my four ounces of cold garnish had been replaced with three ounces of lukewarm, shriveled up, gray leather.
  • The server disappeared but not before noticing my dismayed expression, shrugging her shoulders and explaining that to make it hotter, they had to cook it longer and I BET YOU’RE WONDERING IF I SPIT IN IT, AREN’T YOU? Except she didn’t say that last part with her lips, just her eyes.
  • I fought the urge to chase after her and throw hot pepper flakes into her mouthy eyes. But just barely. It helped that I was sitting in the inside corner of the booth and Zoe flatly refused to let me out.
  • Three of us ate our meals.
  • One of us made a squinchy face and ate expensive lettuce.

While Nate settled the bill, which included far less than a 20% tip, and my kids walked fifty feet in front of me lest anyone think they were related to the hungry woman with the squinchy face behind them who was about to CALL ATTENTION TO HERSELF IN THE NAME OF A LIFE LESSON, OH MY GOD, WHERE’S THE NEAREST EXIT, I took my squinchy face up to the hostess stand and politely asked to speak to the manager at which time the following events occurred:

  • Nate came over to stand beside me and my squinchy face.
  • I gave him the benefit of the doubt by believing that he did so out of a parental desire to set a good example for our kids by participating in a life lesson instead of doing so out of a carnal desire to score a little yabba dabba doo later that night.
  • The manager came over to us and I quietly and politely explained what had transpired and he profusely apologized, assured me to my squinchy face that they don’t make a habit of tanning animal skin and having waitresses in serious need of attitude adjustments serve it to their customers. Then he gave me his card and promised that the next time we visited, he would personally take care of us.
  • We went in search of Zoe and Helena and found them hiding behind a large potted plant.
  • They asked how soon it would be before we were escorted out by Homeland Security.
  • I explained the outcome and in their excitement and anticipation of all of the free breadsticks they’d consume in the very near future, they suddenly and conveniently forgot their quest to find a new mother.
  • As I brushed leaves and twigs from their backs, I reminded them of the story of the Little Red Hen and how she worked all day to make bread and none of the other barnyard animals helped her and at the end of the night, she declined all their offers to help her eat what she alone had made and she wound up eating every morsel of bread herself while watching Real Housewives of Orange County but only because she was trying to teach everyone a life lesson and not because she was bitchy. Although, she had every right to be bitchy, after having spent an entire day slaving away in a hot barn and only taking periodic breaks to push rock hard spawn out her bahoodle doodle. Wouldn’t you be bitchy? Then again, I might have left out that last part.
  • I then informed the girls that while I loved them to pieces and had the stretch marks to prove it, Nate and I would be eating the Little Red Hen’s bread, as well as her cannelloni and chicken french and lasagna and hot molten brownie surprise, all by ourselves since we had been the ones to theoretically help her cook it all and doing so was going to hurt us a lot more than it was going to hurt them. I don’t think they believed that last part though because it’s possible I might have been perusing a menu as I said it. Also, I might have been lying.
  • Although it wasn’t the one originally intended, the girls did wind up learning a valuable life lesson that night, to wit: If you didn’t reap it, you ain’t sowing it. Also, if you hide behind foliage when Mom is channeling pissed-off poultry while wearing a squinchy face, you get what you get. Or not, as the case may be.

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Weekend regurgitation: It’s either this or a stake through the heart and this is a lot less bloody

As I write this, it’s late on Saturday night. Zoe is sleeping at her dad’s, Helena is sleeping at her cousins’, Oliver is sleeping on my feet and if Nate continues to watch morbidly obese, pierced, tattooed, mumu-wearing scary people repossess cars on TV ad nauseam, he will be sleeping on the couch. There are only so many episodes of Operation Repo I can watch before I feel compelled to issue an Amber Alert for my IQ.

I leave you with a post I wrote last year about my garlic spread which is guaranteed to repel the un-dead. I’m pretty sure that includes the morbidly obese, pierced, tattooed, mumu-wearing scary people on Operation Repo.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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If you want to get it on with any of the Cullens, this is not the post for you

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Several of you asked for my garlic spread recipe after reading last Sunday’s regurgitation post and I decided to share it because I think the world would be much better off if all of us inhabitants wreaked of garlic instead of only a chosen few.

I don’t know about you, but watching as people trample all over each other to remain upwind of me is getting old.

And weird.

From all over the Internet I can hear some of you shouting OH MY GOD, THIS IS THE SECOND RECIPE YOU’VE POSTED. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, A FOODIE?

And to you, I say PISH POSH in a British accent.

Because I’ve always wanted to speak in a British accent and no one in my family will let me and the moment I even try, they all run far away from me, so that leaves you guys to pick up the slack.

Pish posh!

Pish posh, m’gosh!

Pish posh, m’gosh Josh!

That last one had a little bit of an Irish brogue thrown in! Go me!

OK, that’s it for the slack, unless you want me to mix it up with a little bit of an Aussie accent?

I didn’t think so. Thanks for playing.

By the way, I think the fact that I could quite happily bathe in Velveeta excludes me from membership in the foodie club.

Here’s what you’ll need for my garlic spread:

  • One head of garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I really wanted to say “EVOO which is extra virgin olive oil”  but I was afraid Rachael Ray would sue me for copyright infringement
  • One softened, eight ounce building block of life, also known as cream cheese
  • ¼ cup of Reason to Live, also known as butter – softened
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • A bunch of chopped scallions. Did you know that my husband’s uncle eats them raw? As in, picks them out of the ground and chews them without first washing all the icky nature off of them? I worry about Uncle Pat sometimes, but only after I pass out from the grossness of it all
  • One baguette, sliced thin, on which to serve the spread

And here’s what you do with all this stuff:

  1. Tell your in-laws that the party starts at 4:00 p.m., because that way, when they arrive at 5:30, they’ll be on time
  2. Remove the outer skin of the garlic head
  3. Tune in to your anal retentive side, which comprises 98% of your psyche, and try to peel off every single shred of garlic skin while ignoring the remaining 2%  of your psyche as it yells FOR GOD’S SAKE, IT DOESN’T MATTER, STOP BEING A FREAK OF NATURE
  4. Place your *naked* garlic head on a sheet of tin foil
  5. Tune in to your childish side because heehee, you said naked
  6. Rub some EVOO all over your naked garlic head, making sure to get it into all the crevices. You don’t want to drown it, but you want to make sure the entire head is covered
  7. Try to ignore that this is beginning to sound like a cheap porn flick
  8. Answer your door and get served with Rachael’s lawsuit barring you from ever uttering the phrase EVOO again
  9. Wrap the garlic head in the foil and bake it at 350° for about 25 minutes
  10. After about five minutes, say really bad words as your kitchen fills up with smoke and you realize that you should have placed a cookie sheet under the garlic
  11. Keep saying the bad words as you throw heavy objects, including your last born, at the smoke alarm to get it to SHUT THE HELL UP ALREADY
  12. After about 25 minutes, unwrap the garlic and continue to cook it uncovered for about 8 – 10 minutes until it’s really soft and smells so good that you have to restrain yourself from shoving the entire thing into your mouth
  13. Let it cool. This is a good time to watch Law & Order: SVU and admire Detective Elliot Stabler for the fine specimen of a manly man he is
  14. Remove the garlic pulp. I’d tell you to simply pretend the individual cloves of garlic are zits and squeeze them but that would totally skeeve me out so I’m not going to
  15. Mash the garlic pulp into a paste
  16. Find your mixer but not the beaters. Or vice-versa. Six of one, half dozen of the other. You get my drift
  17. Spend one hour looking for the beaters, only to find them in the last place you look
  18. Beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Just like me! Except not really
  19. Beat in the garlic pulp and salt
  20. Stir in the green onion
  21. Chill. The garlic spread, not you. Although you can chill if you want – I know it always makes my family breathe a sigh of relief, even though they think I don’t know
  22. Remove from the fridge about 15 minutes before you serve it
  23. Hide in the pantry and eat the whole bowl yourself together with the entire baguette and then stomp around the house shrieking WHO ATE MY GARLIC SPREAD AND BAGUETTE? NOW I HAVE TO GO TO WEGMANS! THANKS A LOT, YOU UNGRATEFUL CRETINS
  24. Wait until your entire family passes out from your breath, then gargle with some Listerine and scamper off to Wegmans to buy a veggie platter and call it a day

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For those of you who have no idea who the Cullens are (hi Mom!) they’re the vampire characters in Twilight. I, myself, don’t find any of them attractive except for Rosalie and Alice and since I don’t swing that way – not that there’s anything wrong with that – I have no problem eating this stuff 24/7.

Although I do have issues of abandonment when it’s breezy out while doing so.

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How I lost weight on Weight Watchers without losing my mind – Part 2 of 2

Recently, I posted about my general thoughts on the Weight Watchers program and I wanted to follow that up with my take on exercise and food and if you get nothing else from this post, I hope you’ll walk away knowing at least this much:

  1. Exercise is still a four letter word in my vocabulary, except that I spell it with eight letters because if I spelled it like “XRSZ” the way I wanted to, I’d get emails from people complaining What do you have against vowels? You’re not making sense! I can’t understand you! Enunciate! And then I’d have to be all MOM! WHEN DID YOU GET EMAIL?
  2. I did not have to resort to eating my own young. It was touch and go there for awhile but luckily, my kids are super fast on their feet, with an uncanny talent for hide and seek.

And as I’ve said before, I am not paid or compensated in any way for any product I mention. So if I say something tastes like candy-coated unicorns dipped in multiple rainbow colored orgasms? It’s because I think it does and there are no guys in business suits in the background, high fiving and fist bumping each other. Same goes if I mention that something tastes like scrotum tampanade, although I don’t expect anyone would be high-fiving or fist bumping each other in that case. Although if they were, wouldn’t that be kind of funny? And not in a good way?

  • Disclaimer #1: I’m not going to be getting into any recipes here because you can simply google Weight Watchers recipes to your heart’s content. In fact, google them until the cows come home and then cook them your favorites! Or, cook the cows instead, if that’s your thing. In this post, I’m just going to mention a few of the things that I eat that get me through this program without feeling as if I have to stab somebody.
  • Disclaimer #2: I flat out refuse to consume anything that is fat free, except milk. This includes, above anything else, cheese. Even if it’s delivered by Anderson Cooper wearing nothing but a towel and dirty propositions, I will not eat fat free cheese. Life is just too short and I’d rather die fat with a chunk of Gorgonzola shoved in my mouth then live skinny trying to gag down crap so processed that no self-respecting cow/sheep/goat will admit to providing the raw material. Real cheese has fat, people. If it doesn’t, then it has no business calling itself cheese. The best I can manage is reduced-fat and even then, I do so grudgingly and flip it the bird before I eat it. However, Anderson? Feel free to forgo the cheese and just bring the towel and propositions. We’ll make do.

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THINGS I ATE ON WEIGHT WATCHERS

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Water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water and water. And just when you think you can’t possibly drink any more of the stuff … WATER. Seriously, water is your best friend on Weight Watchers. It has zero points, it hydrates you, cleanses your system, fills you up and makes your skin look awesome. At this point, I suppose I could insert any number of jokes about how, with a little more effort, colonics and semen could do the exact same things for you but then you might think less of me than you already do.

As if that’s possible!

Right?

Hello?

Irene’s All Natural Biscotti. Does it taste like real biscotti? Not on your life. Does it taste good? Meh. It’s OK. I buy the chocolate flavor because eating the orange cranberry ones tastes like I’m licking the bottom of my toaster. While I’m not in love with these things as a stand alone product, I can’t say enough about them when they’re used as a vessel for peanut butter. Then, they’re fantastic because at only 20 calories/zero fat per cookie, they’re a crunchy, zero point alternative to a spoon. I buy them more for their texture than anything else because my jaws feel like they’re getting a little workout when I’m eating them. I don’t count the act of eating them as exercise points, though. I tried, but my Weight Watchers leader looked at me kind of weird.

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I may be 43 years old but I’m a child at heart and nothing beats a peanut butter sandwich so I had to find a reasonable alternative to regular, fat-infused peanut butter because a life without peanut butter is a lonely, desolate, soul-sucking thing that I want nothing to do with. Enter Reduced Fat Jif. I’ve tried every other kind of reduced fat peanut butter out there and this one was the only one that actually tasted good and didn’t make my tongue want to slap me. I’ve heard rumors of something called PB2 or some kind of powdered peanut butter but I just can’t go there. It’s bad enough that I’ve gone the reduced fat route with the nectar of the gods … anything more and I fear that my entire digestive system would punch me in the throat.

Arnold Sandwich Things and Thomas Bagel Thins. At one point each, I simply cannot say enough about these two products.  I need bread just as much as I need oxygen but I don’t need the points that traditional bread represents. I make a sandwich with either one of these, using 2 or 3 ounces of deli turkey, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, a slice of 2% pepper jack cheese and some dijon mustard. The sandwich winds up being huge yet only 3 or 4 points, depending on how much turkey I used. When you’re allotted only eighteen points a day on the program, you need to pack as much healthy crap into as few points as possible and these two products help me do that with little effort. I’m all about little effort! Especially when it comes to crap!

Skinny Cow truffle bars taste like candy-coated unicorns dipped in multiple rainbow colored orgasms, I shit you not. If anything kept me on this program, it was Skinny Cow. I eat one every night and they are a vital, crucial, integral part of my daily 18 point allowance. They are, without doubt, one of the best tasting things I have ever put in my mouth.

No offense, Nate.

These toffee crunch bars from Weight Watchers come in a close second to Skinny Cow. However, I only buy them when Wegmans runs out of Skinny Cow and only after I pitch a hissy fit in the frozen food section, hollering WHERE THE HELL IS THE GODDAMN SKINNY COW? HAS THE WORLD GONE MAD? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU STARING AT?

I’m not sure how to say this without sounding like a commercial so forgive me … Ronzoni pasta tastes good and it’s good for you. One cup of regular pasta is four points but one cup of Ronzoni pasta is only three and at eighteen points a day, every single point is precious. Now I admit, I will shove as much Ronzoni pasta into that one cup as I possibly can, even if it means I have to jump up and down on it for a few seconds when no one is looking. However, I don’t recommend doing this too often because it wreaks havoc on your measuring cups. And by havoc, I mean it smashes them to smithereens.

Nosh, snack, graze, munch, nibble, forage … whatever. I must have an unlimited supply of snacks immediately on hand or I am grumpy with a capital GIVE ME THAT COOKIE OR I WILL CUT YOU, BITCH.  These are a few of the snacks that I typically scarf down so as not to act out my frustrations by castrating the first human being who crosses my starving path.

  1. The Kellogg’s Fiber Plus dark chocolate almond bars taste freakishly good but I warn you, unless your digestive tract can process eighteen grams of fiber at once, do not eat more than one at a time. Unless, of course, you have a grudge against every human being within a twenty mile radius of you. And you hate all living creatures.
  2. I found the Blue Ginger Brown Rice Chips at BJ’s Wholesale Club and I admit that my first thought was BLECH, *GAG* THROW UP EVERYWHERE. But I bought them anyway because I was running out of things to complain about to Nate. I was surprised to discover how good they tasted and the fact that I could have thirty-three chips for only 2 points! On the downside, dinner conversation that night was pretty boring.
  3. The Laughing Cow light cheese is, simply put, damn good. I’m constantly surprised at how much cheese is actually in one of those wedges. Nate is getting sick and tired of me yelling LOOKIT! LOOKIT! LOOKIT HOW MUCH CHEESE IS IN THIS THING! and having no response at all other than “That’s what she said” which is either totally inappropriate, utterly gross or doesn’t make any sense at all. I’m going with all three.
  4. The Jolly Time kettle corn popcorn doesn’t taste anything at all like the good stuff. Shocking, I know! The best I can say about this stuff is that it’s healthy, you can eat a ton of it for very few points and it’s not too terribly God awful. If, however, my taste buds were ever again to come into contact with the real stuff, there’s no telling what they’d do. IT WOULD BE ANARCHY.

That’s about it! Seeing as how this post has become the blog equivalent of War and Peace, I’ll save my bit about exercise for another post and I’ll try not to reference scrotums, colonics or the naked happy with Mr. Cooper when I do because I don’t need any emails that say HEY, DO YOU KISS YOUR MOTHER WITH THAT MOUTH? NOT ANYMORE YOU DON’T. LOVE, MOM.

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Weekend regurgitation: Enchiladas and butts. It’s what’s for dinner

Last night we went out as a family to dinner. This means that before we set out, Nate and I went through a half hour chorus of What do you want to eat? I don’t know, what do YOU want to eat? I asked you first. I asked you second. Stop being a smart ass. Should I be a dumb ass instead? Too late.

During dinner, the girls started with giggles and ended with laughter and ran the entire gamut in between, which included nagging, bickering, insulting and one quite impressive verbal smackdown which included such gems as YOU RATHER LARGE, UNFORTUNATE, SMELLY, BUTT-FACED PILE OF POOP.

In other words, we could have stayed home and enjoyed the exact same dining experience at a fraction of the cost. Except no one would have waited on me and where’s the fun in that, I ask you?

I leave you with a post and recipe I wrote last year for enchiladas. And before you even ask … yes, the frequency with which the word “butt” is associated with food related matters on this blog is, to say the least, disconcerting.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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How about some buttocks for dinner?

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Look what I did! Look what I did!

enchilada_stuffed_shells

I cooked something out of nothing!

I can’t believe it.

The last time I cooked something out of nothing was almost nine years ago and the result is currently running around the house annoying the very first thing I cooked out of nothing.

I think I’m going to call this dish Andy’s Rocking Sensational Enchilada Shells or ARSES for short, because the word “arse” means buttocks and the word buttocks has always made me giggle and I think the world would be a much nicer place if people giggled more.

Don’t you?

Anyway, I’m pretty proud of myself because, as I’ve mentioned before, I can rock the heck out of any holiday meal but the heinous, gut-wrenching, loathsome, I’d-rather-chew-off-my-own-eyelids task of weekly dinners? They suck my will to live.

But this time I yanked on my big girl panties and channeled my inner and somewhat less crude Die Hard Bruce Willis and screamed a wicked Yippie Kai Yay Fluffenutter and kicked in the door of my pantry and went to town.

In a figurative sense. Because if it had been in a literal sense, we would have had take-out from Pizza Hut instead and I’d have nothing to blog about today and where’s the fun in that?

Here’s my recipe, in classic Creative Junkie fashion. Oh, and lest you think I’m going to become a *gasp* cooking blog, I just have one word for you:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Here we go:

  • 1 box of large shells
  • 1 pound hamburger, or, as Helena would say, one pound moo.
  • 1 jar salsa, which reminds me … can someone tell Max from Dancing with the Stars to call me already? I’m tired of waiting. Geesh. Men.
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can of OH  MY GOD, PEOPLE ACTUALLY EAT THIS? IT LOOKS LIKE A JELLY ROLL OF POOP which, loosely translated, means 1 can of refried beans. UGH.  How people eat this stuff plain is simply beyond me.
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 8 ounces of shredded taco cheese, or 6 ounces if you’re a dairy whore like me and can’t help gobbling it up once the package is opened.
  • 8 ounces of cheddar cheese which should be 8 full ounces because you learned from your mistake with the taco cheese and stapled this package shut until you were ready to use it. Right?

Now here’s what you do with all this stuff:

  1. Cook your shells, rinse them under cold water, drain and tell your eight year old to stop asking if she can have gum every two seconds and give you a minute’s worth of peace for the love of God.
  2. Brown up your hamburger in a large skillet and drain the fat and tell your arteries YOU’RE WELCOME.
  3. To the cooked hamburger, add in the jelly roll of poop, salsa and corn and cook over medium-low heat.
  4. Tell your fifteen year old to knock it off already or you will knock it off for her and she’ll never find it again.
  5. Add some salt and pepper and cook the meat mixture for about ten minutes over medium-low heat until it’s all blended and has the consistency of … well, you don’t want to know.
  6. Tell your eight year old that you are perfectly aware that it looks like BLECH but it won’t taste that way. Hopefully.
  7. Say the “hopefully” part under your breath.
  8. Take the meat mixture off the heat and then fold in whatever taco cheese is not currently residing in your small intestine. Shout at your kids that if they don’t stop yelling each other to death, you are running away from home and taking the Skinny Cow Truffle Bars with you.
  9. Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick spray and say a really bad word when it gets on your hardwoods and turns them into a skating rink.
  10. Repeat the word over and over as your back gives birth to a slipped disc because you never did learn how to skate.
  11. Take a little of the meat mixture and spread it on the bottom of the casserole dish. It will be lumpy and look like … well, you don’t want to know.
  12. Fill each shell with a heaping scoop of the meat mixture. I was able to make 24 shells and still had some meat mixture left over.
  13. Smoosh as many shells as you can into the dish and then pour the can of enchilada sauce over them. I only used half of a small can because it smelled funny and I was scared.
  14. Tear open the 8 ounces of cheddar and dump it all over the top. See now, aren’t you glad you had the forethought of mind to staple it shut in the first place?
  15. Cover with tin foil and cook at 350 for about 30 minutes or until heated all the way through with the cheese melted in such a way as to give you an orgasm.
  16. Eat way more than can possibly be good for you.

I’m going into my kitchen now to figure out how I can disguise the leftovers so that I can serve them tonight because Nate believes that leftovers are a plague upon humanity.

Much like my opinion of weekly dinners.

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