Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Drunken Pretzels

Yes.  This.

Tipsy carbs.
 We are returning to our alma mater this weekend to celebrate Homecoming.  We've only missed one year since graduating a few* years ago.  A bunch of us come together and rent a place a few miles away.  Some years new people join the group and some years a few old friends can't make it.  But, there are lots of stories, laughing our buns off, catch-up times, drinking games of yore and generally acting as if we are twenty again.  Except our little group has produced 8 - 10 babies within the past four or so years.  Damn.  Which means for the past few years, we are guaranteed a designated driver.  We usually out the preggos right away by having shots and whomever doesn't sit on the shot couch up for mucho speculation.  And the kids have pretty much all been babies up 'til now, so this year will be interesting with a few preschoolers and toddlers in the mix.  We look forward to this weekend alllllllllllllllll year long.

Anyway, to the point.  A few months ago I found a random recipe for drunken pretzels and made them (and boozy bears) for a girls' weekend.  The boozy bears were a bit much for us, but the drunken pretzels were quite a hit.  Easy peasy.

You need:
16 oz. bag of pretzels (shape of your choice) (I use snaps because the grid holds in all of the deliciousness, but the OG recipe calls for regular mini pretzels).
1/2 cup of butter, melted
3 tablespoons of whiskey
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cayenne (this makes them SPICY, I usually half this with paprika)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder

Do it:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Combine the melted butter, whiskey, brown sugar, cayenne and garlic into a small bowl.  Place pretzels on baking sheet.  Pour butter mixture over the pretzels and toss to coat.  Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Toss and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Devour.

Mmmmmmmmm.  Perfect sweet, salty, spicy snack.

Tell me about more delicious treats you serve on crazy weekend get togethers.  Send good wishes that the babies sleep until (or past!) 8:00 am.  Soak in the beauty of a small town in the fall.  So excited!

*few may or may not equal ten or more

Monday, October 15, 2012

Making the Police Log

So, some days I think that you should have to be issued a license to be an adult in the functioning world.  Mostly I think this applies to other people, but occasionally (ok, weekly) I think that person may be me.  Remember that time my pants fell off in public?  Well this week I totally felt up a stranger.  I was at the pretentious asshole grocery store (my husband's name for it) (no, not that one, the other one) (you better not even be thinking about my beloved Trader Joe's!) and was trying to think of a good side to go with Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken.  I settled (as I usually do with sides) on sweet potato fries, then decided to get waffle fries, since it seems to a shape that appeals to my three year old.

First prob, there were only two bags left of sweet potato waffle fries (uhh, these obvs need an abbreviation, how 'bout we go with SPWF).  Second prob, they were pushed way way way back in the freezer.  And I'm a shortie.  I just could not reach the fries. Third *imagined* prob, you are thinking now I should buy sweet potatoes and make my own.  Which I do sometimes, but not the amount of work I was going for today.  I will carry on now.  So I used my honed problem solving skills and poked my fingers up through the bottom of the shelf to try and drag the bag.  This did not work for varying, boring reasons.  Then I tried standing on the edge of the freezer and reaching in, to Squish's delight, she thought this was hysterical.  But I still at least five inches short.  After that, I looked around the aisle trying to find a stick-like object to drag the SPWF towards me.  Being in the freezer section you can imagine the dearth of stick-like objects.  I thought about boosting Squish up into the freezer to grab them, but I don't think you are supposed to stick your children in public freezers.  (Obvious joke, put down your phone.)

So I did what short people do in these situations.  No, not jumping wildly, hoping for traction and trying to reach, but looking around for a tall person.  Preferably an employee of the grocery store.  When this magical employee did not appear after a few moments I started eying a taller woman at the other end of the aisle.  Eying might be too generous of a word, because at some point she make eye contact with me and mouthed "Sorry" because she thought she was in my way.  I was flat out staring.  She was still at the other end of a 30-foot grocery aisle (not to scale because I still find numbers scary {sorry Mrs. Rowe, you tried} and am not sure how long the actual aisle is.  I would have had to project loudly to have a conversation.)  Ok, refocusing...NOW.  As she got closer I kept peeking and making shy smiles.  Squish turned on her cutest gummy grin face.  When she got close enough she said hi and I started with the verbal diarrhea.  "Oh my gosh, I am so sorry, can I ask you a big favor, I am soooo short and can't reach the SPWF, do you think you could get me a bag????**"  She chuckled and said sure.  I pointed them out, she reached in and easily grabbed a bag.  Story over right?  Job accomplished, good deed done?  Nope!  I even managed to mess this part up.  I reached out for the bag too quickly (no, I didn't push her into the freezer) and overreached.  As I grabbed my bag of fries, I BRUSHED BOTH HANDS DOWN THIS WOMAN'S CHEST.  Yes.  I felt her up.  Well, down.  I felt her down.  A look of shock rolls across this woman's face.

I turned scarlet, grabbed the fries, thanked her profusely and quickly turned away to retreat before she called the grocery store SVU.  I also forgot my grocery cart with my daughter in it.  She laughed again, a beautiful musical laugh, and pushed my cart to me.  She seemed to think the entire exchange was funny and didn't seem to be too disturbed by our sudden jump to second base.  After thanking her again, I started going the opposite way through the store (through aisles I had already covered) so we didn't do that awkward pass thing down every aisle.  Between that and Squish letting my shopping list blow away on the wind in the parking lot before we went in, it took me two hours to do my grocery shopping.  Seriously, I need to a license to have general public interactions.  I did see her at the check-out.  She pointed to me, waved, and turned to talk to a man with her.  At some point during her conversation with him, she gestured up to her chest.  Sigh.

Ok, spill your most embarrassing stories.  Or at least the most embarrassing thing that happened to you this week.

**you know its serious when I use quadruple punctuation!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mix Masta Sara

I've made some yummy things over the past few weeks which I want to tell you about, but today I tackled a super-easy trail mix.  I stay far far away from most things labeled trail mix because I am allergic to tree nuts.  I CAN eat peanuts, but not pecans, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.  Even my mother doesn't always remember this, but after years with dealing with this allergy I've gotten pretty good at it. 

But sometimes I would like a trail-mix like snack.  For awhile I was mixing honey sesame sticks from Trader Joe's with wasabi peas and this was heavenly.  Slightly sweet, a little spicy and salty.  Almost perfection...until Trader Joe's stopped carrying the honey sesame sticks.  The regular sesame sticks don't have quite the same attraction.

 Anyway, somewhere in the interwebz this past week I saw a fall-themed trail mix, but of course it was loaded down with walnuts.  I decided to let this inspire my own walnut-less mix.  I started out shopping for caramel bits, cinnamon chips, and dried apple slices.  Then I couldn't find caramel bits.  So here is what my snack mix ended up with - dried granny smith apple slices (I have a dehydrator and will make my own next time), cinnamon chips, toffee roasted peanuts (I got toffee bits when I couldn't find caramel bits, then I saw these peanuts and decided to kill two birds with one stone), roasted pumpkin seeds and orange cranberries from TJs.  If you were trying to do no-nut at all you could do pretzels to get your salty in.  Or the pumpkin seeds are pretty salty, you might not even need to replace the peanuts.  You could also certainly use Craisins if orange cranberries aren't your thing or you don't have a Trader's nearby.  The only thing I did in to prepare, other than pouring everything in a large container, was to break up the apple rings a bit to make the size more uniform with the other ingredients.  Seems to make a better mouthful.  And I put the entire bag of cinnamon chips in and that seems a little crazy in hindsight.

So go forth and make autumn-inspired trail mix and tell me what you would put in there.  I'll admit it was hard to leave any sort of chocolate out, but I didn't want to completely override the other flavors. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

I've Got One Hand in Many Pockets

Just a quick question for anyone who is the main laundry do-er in their house.  Just how much responsibility falls on the laundry do-er to check pockets?  So, just askin', if your spouse/partner/roommate/family regularly wears cargo pants x several pairs of pants per load that is a lot of damn pockets.  Just sayin'.  Maybe you should check your own pockets before you take the pants off.  Some people are focusing their laundry energy on not washing crayons, tissues and/or wayward children.

P.S. - Ok, I know this is a lame post back after disappearing for six weeks, but dipping the toes in, we'll be back.

Monday, August 13, 2012

For Perusal Purposes

Just finished a week of mom and two weekends of guests (which totally kicked ass) (but left me a bit tuckered out) ('cause we stay up all night and dang it, the kids still want to get up and eat in the morning), so I thought I would share a list of cassette tapes I found in my apparently never-ending quest to go through all of my schtuff from my childhood.  Just in case you need some ammo to make fun of me, here is a list of what I've found so far, divided into nifty categories for you:

I Have No Memories of These, Maybe They Belong to My Parents?:
  • Heart - Brigade
  • Henry Lee Summer - I've Got Everything
  • Foreigner - Agent Provocateur
  • Somewhere in Time - a soundtrack?
  • Michael Bolton - The One Thing - pleaseletthisbemoms, pleasepleaseplease

Bought for One Song:
  • Will To Power - Baby I Love Your Way
  • Bryan Adams  - So Far So Good - Summer of '69.  Just kidding, clearly this was for Everything I Do.  I was obsessed with Robin Hood and probably saw it three times in the theater.  I was too young to drive so someone's mom was "suffering" right along with me.
  • Richard Marx - Repeat Offender - Right Here Waiting 

Singles, Probably Didn't Have Enough $$ To Buy Whole Album:
  • Paula Abdul - Straight Up
  • Paula Abdul - Cold Hearted
  • Snap - Rhythm is a Dancer
  • Keedy - Save Some Love
  • Glenn Medeiros featuring Bobby Brown - She Ain't Worth It
  • Amy Grant - House of Love
  • Billy Ray Cyrus - don't make me say it
  • Shanice - I Love Your Smile
  • Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch - Wildside
  • Ini Kamoze - Here Comes the Hotstepper
  • Xscape - Understanding
  • Lisa Loeb - Stay

Whole Albums, Probably Choreographed Dances to Most of the Songs:
  • MC Hammer - Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em - U Can't Touch This.  'Nuff said.
  • Richard Marx - Hazard - who grows up in a small town and doesn't want out?
  • Starship - Knee Deep in the Hoopla - This is the cassette with the song Sara on it, so I had at least seven copies at one point, teenage boys thinking they were being original
  • Boyz II Men - Christmas Interpretations
  • Whitney Houston - Whitney Houston
  • Today's Hot Movie Hits - I Will Always Love You, Unchained Melody, A Whole New World, Everything I Do, Dances with Wolves theme, Beauty and the Beast theme, My Girl theme, Unforgiven theme, Can't Help Falling in Love With You (these were performed by a cover band.  I don't think I ever realized that) (until just now)
  • Madonna - I'm Breathless - Dick Tracy was one of the first movies I got to see sans parental units 
  • Paula Abdul - Forever Your Girl - I had a bit of a thing for Paula
  • Color Me Badd - CMB
  • En Vogue - Funky Divas - can you tell I am finally getting fundage from somewhere to buy my own music?
  • Bobby Brown - Don't Be Cruel
  • Miami Sound Machine
  • Young Guns II
  • and the ultimate tape, that I knew the words to every single song although I had NO IDEA what most of them meant - George Michael - Faith

And of course my NKOTB oeuvre:
  • NKOTB - Hangin' Tough (x2)
  • NKOTB - Merry Merry Christmas
  • NKOTB - Step by Step

Mix Tapes:
  • Kathryn's Late '80's tape that seems to feature Wham, Mr. Mister, Kenny Loggins, U2 and more - I have no idea who Kathryn is
  • Commercials - uhh, had to learn how to tape from the radio somehow
  • Love Will Find A Way - from unrequited boy crush
  • Real Love I - Side A - I Don't Have the Heart, Side B  - How Can I Fall - these came from a boooooyfrieeeeeend
  • Real Love II - Side A - Real Love, Side B - My Lovin'
  • Dazzy Duks - Knockin' Boots, Whoop! Dazzey Duks, Hot Sex, One Last Cry, Weak, Freak Me, Slam, etc
I really should be ashamed of these, but come on, it was the late '80s and early '90s.  I don't have the heart.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Mom in town, too busy enjoying her spoiling her grandchildren to get any thoughts out.  Be back soon.  Mwah!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Face it girls, I'm older and I have more insurance.

So I'm definitely not a food blogger, mostly because I don't have enough patience to take beautiful pictures of the results, much less prep steps.  If I was trying to do that I would forget half the ingredients.  Ask my mom about the time I accidentally made chocolate chip biscuits for a school party instead of cookies (I somehow mixed up the baking soda {or powder, who knows} and the sugar measurement).  But I do enjoy cooking, trying new things and making new favorites, so when I find something really delish I'll try to share it.

Two sides we have really enjoyed this summer are zucchini boats and fried green tomatoes (hence the title quote from namesake movie.)  The zucchini boats I found off the website Proud Italian Cook.  I'm not going to take her picture 'cause I don't know all the picture posting etiquette yet and I don't have pics of the ones I've made, but trust me, these are yummy.
Zucchini Boats:
  • Cut your zucchinis or squashes in half lengthwise.
  • Scoop out the middle seed part with a melon baller (I think you are supposed to chop up the middles and put them back in, but I steam the little squash balls for my Squish to eat.  She can't get enough of them) or a spoon would work too.
  • Brush with mixture of crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. (Uh, I supposed you want measurements, but I don't have them, just go with it).
  • Arrange halved grape tomatoes in the groove, sprinkle with breadcrumbs (I always use panko), place in baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or so.  
  • Remove and place a delicious cheese (the recipe recommends fontina or mozz) in between the tomatoes.
  • Put back in the oven and broil 'til bubbly.  
  • The recipe says to drizzle with more olive oil and parm when you take it out, but I never do.
  • My delicious alterations - I put diced mushrooms in the zucchini bed before I put the tomatoes in or some caramelized onions.  So good!
Last night I made the best fried green tomatoes I have ever eaten.   And I have even been to southern-style restaurants in Charleston, SC before.  I have three super-secret Sara tricks, most of which I did not come up with, but I will take credit for them.  Wait, I even have crappy cell phone pics of these!
Recipe basics taken from Allrecipes before I added my Saratrix.  This is good for four good-sized tomatoes.
  • Slice green tomatoes 1/2 inch thick, discard the ends.
  • Lay tomato slices on plate and sprinkle lightly with salt to dry them out a bit.
  • Set up coating stations. Station 1) Recipe calls for plate of flour (1 cup) but here is my first Saratrix.  I use dry pancake mix* instead of flour.  Coats so well and fries up crispy.  Station 2) 2 eggs and 1/2c of milk whisked together.  Station 3) Recipe calls for 1/2 cup of cornmeal and 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs but Saratrix #2 is to use 1 cup of panko** instead (I'm going to have to trademark Saratrix aren't I?) (I put panko in everything, love it!), plus 2 teaspoons of coarse sea salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper.
  • Coat tomato slices in pancake mix, then dip in egg/milk mixture, then dredge through panko.  Bonus Saratrix - Do all of the slices in pancake mix first, then one by one through egg then panko.  That way your fingers don't get all munked up.  Well, not as much.
  • Pour 1/2 inch or so vegetable oil in pan (canola is probably ok.  Ahh, who am I kidding, I don't know anything about oils.  Use whatever you want).  Heat over medium heat.  Place tomatoes in pan in batches depending on size of pan.  Don't crowd them, they shouldn't touch!  When tomatoes are brown flip to other side (I use tongs to flip).  Last night it was about four minutes per side.  When both sides are brown drain on paper towel.
  • Saratrix #3, serve with a dollop of orange marmalade***.  So stinkin' good!
Ok, if you make any of these let me know what you did.  All of my cooking is definitely a work in progress, so tips are appreciated!

*Thanks to husband's co-worker for this tip!
** Thanks to South Carolinian transplant friend for panko tip!
***Came up with this one on my own!