Archive for the ‘Viva la Food!’ Category

Sometimes I cook.

March 18, 2019

One of the joys of getting back into the swing of things is having regularly scheduled, sit-down family meals.

Last week was Spring Break, so it was chaos all over the house and schedule and…well, all over everything. Yes, I’m telling you I love being back inside of a healthy structured schedule and then I tell you that I broke it. Shoosh.

Chicken1Today, the girls are back to school, I’m back to doing my thing, and I’m also back to cooking. I realized this weekend when I was cooking for a friend that while I’m more of a baker than I am a chef, I still glory in being able to present a home-cooked meal. It’s a gift of intention; I took time to plan out a meal, gathered what I needed, prepared it, cooked the food, and…okay, then I shove a plate at you and start ordering everyone to help themselves. It’s true. But a little tough love at the beginning of a meal is how we show we care!

Today I settled on chicken. Yes, the girls are going to cringe. They’ve been off chicken lately. But that’s what happen when you let Mama loose in the store and chicken breasts are on sale. I figured I could throw the chicken into a crock pot, and then get all my stuff done that I needed to do. I picked up a 4-pack of New Belgium IPA because 1) it has a cool picture of a skeleton in beach gear and a trucker hat on the front, and 2Chicken2) it’s called Liquid Paradise. Paradise!!! That’s exactly what I need!!

So my chicken plans altered slightly. I put three breasts in the crockpot and covered them with two cans of IPA. I slathered the largest one with a hickory smoke barbecue sauce for the girls. One I covered with just kosher salt and ground black pepper. And the last I covered with Provencal herbs. We can shred the chicken and have them on Hawaiian rolls. The girls can have potato chips and pickles with them. I’ll make brown beans. And roast some green beans with garlic butter.

You guys – I am drooling! Is it time to eat yet?


Winner, winner, chicken dinner (except not).

November 5, 2018

I’m in a bit of a pickle. Only if it were pickles, I’d be totally okay.

See, my Bee-girl’s vegetarianism has reared its ugly head again. And I don’t mean to sound ugly towards it. I’ve tried to support Bee’s vegetarianism since she declared it at a very early age. I’ve allowed her to eat alternative proteins at dinner, so long as she prepared them herself (Mom doesn’t cook two dinners, honey). Or I’d let her get by with heavy veggies, our side dish, and a good glass of milk.

Her selective vegetarianism wasn’t terrible. Sometimes she’d eat chicken (but mostly not)(although it really depended on how it was prepared). She wouldn’t eat steak, but she would eat roast beef. No salmon, but she’d eat shrimp, lobster, scallops, and fried clams. Hot dogs were in, cheeseburgers were out. Unless it was from a few fast food places. Shepherd’s pie is out. Meatloaf is in. I mean: it’s crazy!

And tonight was the straw that killed me. We’re stretching until payday, but we have plenty of food in the house, just not top-shelf first-choice snack food because some peoples gobbled it up instead of eating slowly. I was considerate and let Bee choose: chicken, pork chops, steak, or shrimp.

I was pretty sure she’d choose shrimp and EmmaGrace and I could have steak. Surf n’ turf! A pretty good dinner. Only a certain picky-purple-eater declared she didn’t like shrimp anymore. She wanted pasta. I’m pretty tired of pasta. And besides, it’s a good dinner to have after work when I’ve forgotten to take out dinner again.


Now there are tears, on both sides. Sunday Night Meltdowns! Glad to see the toddler years have returned.

What do you guys do? Help!! Do I stick to my guns? I asked her to make me a list of “acceptable” dinner options. I’m not cooking two dinners or designing a limited dinner schedule according to her demands. My kids have turned into picky brats who will eat rigatoni, but not spaghetti (EmmaGrace), and peanut butter sandwiches, but not anything Mom’s prepared. Just because. I’m tired of it! I learned to eat a few bites of whatever I didn’t like when I was at friends’ houses. And she can learn, too.

Right? Or do I let her be stubborn and whither away because she’s only eating eggs and peanut butter? I need some input on this one, guys. For my sanity.

Ice cream > Magic kisses.

July 5, 2018

Behold! For it is just the magic I needed to wake me up from the deepest slumber.

You can keep your unsolicited (and kinda creepy) kisses from your Disney Princes. I will keep the black raspberry ice cream.


Let’s hope the complete surprise (when I needed it most, too!) sustains me through this bout of depression. I’m just gonna keep writing (and ice creaming) until I don’t have to force myself. Faking it until I’m making it.

…But, um, not with the ice cream. No forced marches there!

No mac & cheese for you!

October 11, 2017

This is why I’m not adventurous. I have been doing so well lately though; I summoned the courage to apply for a writing gig at Book Riot – and was asked to become a contributing writer. (Something I am still squeeing over!) That helped give me the courage to apply to a few other jobs I’d previously thought about, but thought more of as “reach” opportunities. I haven’t heard back, but that’s not keeping me down. A publishing company has reached out and asked me to write reviews for them, which…I can’t even begin to describe the rush that gave me! Several exclamation points worth.

All of that is to say, I wanted macaroni and cheese for dinner, but didn’t have the smoked cheese on hand I’d need to make the homemade kind. That was no problem – or at least not that big of one – because I had the “good” kind of boxed mac&cheese: Cracker Barrel. Still, boxed is boxed. Because I’m chock full of confidence from all these crazy ego-boosters lately, I had the courage to try a food hack I’d heard was simply amazing. And that’s when the wheels came off the wagon. Because: my life, really.

I searched sites for what this mysterious ingredient was that I remembered reading in some Buzzfeed article (or somewhere like that), and happened upon some food hacks site that offered up the answer: mustard. No wonder I had been intrigued. The problem is that my trusted Buzzfeed author (I wish I could remember both who to credit and to blame for my predicament) swore by the funky-sounding change and bet that you would never go back once you tried it.

So I figured out how much prepared mustard I should use since I didn’t lack the foresight to buy dry mustard for any odd, late night kitchen cravings I might one day have, and got to work. I tell ya – I was feeling so good, so sure of my outcome, that I even used the lifehack where you put your collander inside the pan and drain the macaroni through it backwards. (Spoiler alert: that part worked!)

I added the cheese pouch and stirred away, getting a nice creamy, cheesy finish in no time. Then…readers, I wavered. I very nearly didn’t go through with it. I had taken a bite and it tasted delicious to me, so was I really going to chance ruin this tasty, tasty dinner…?

I was.

But rather than add 1 Tablespoon of prepared mustard, as called, I just sprinkled some straight from the bottle over the top of the pan, then stirred it in, vigorously. I didn’t want to accidentally bite into a pocket of just mustard. Blech.

I took a bite and…well, it was interesting. I could taste the mustard, but I thought that might be because I was thinking about it. I took another few bites, thinking I could at least eat what I’d made, even if I already knew I wouldn’t be making it again. The mustard taste was a little too strong. And that’s with hardly any in it! I carried my mug of milk and my bowl into my bedroom to finish the project I was working on and…yeah, I couldn’t even make myself sit down. With every spoonful of mac-mixture I ate, the more I knew I couldn’t keep eating. This just wasn’t for me.

SadKatie was Sad that she had ruined an entire box of “good” mac&cheese that she could have eaten for dinner. But then she realized that she had been adventurous, tried something new, done something fun instead of sitting on her kiester, gotten a bloggy story out of it, and cleaned the kitchen while she waited for her dinner.

Then, Readers, I fixed it with a pan of steak fries for dinner, so ha ha on YOU, mac&cheese!


Get it together, Mom.

August 22, 2017

Okay. It’s “only” Day 2.  I have lots of days to recover. And it could be worse. I realize there’s perspective. I just haven’t…found…it yet.

A good mom would remember to re-up Gracie’s lunch account balance.

A good mom would remember to create an account for Bee, in her new school district.

A good mom would have remembered to check on school lunch pack-ability at their other house before 9 p.m. But at least I offered to drop packed lunches off if it was needed?

It’s going to be a long, long year.

#Riotgram, Day 8: Books and ice cream.

June 8, 2017

I almost forgot to post today. I framed and snapped my photo a day or two ago, and it didn’t quite slip my mind, per se, it just wasn’t quite at the front.

Perhaps it was because what I wanted to do was snap a picture of my collection of poems by Wallace Stevens, the one I had left over from 19th Century English Literature class. There was a poem, “The Emperor of Ice Cream,” that would have been perfect for this assignment. I remember discussing the poem at great length in class, and then the professor refused to give us his take on it! But…that’s besides the point. Because instead, for “Books and Ice Cream”, I got you this:


A comfort book, paired with comfort ice cream. The book in questions just happens to be a better picture of the edition of Anne that I told you about earlier. Isn’t it gorgeous?! The cover is soft; I don’t quite know what it’s made of.

The ice cream it’s hanging out with is almost as good a friend as that Anne-girl. You can’t find black raspberry ice cream here in Tejas, but the Haagan Daz Raspberry Sorbet is pretty tasty. You just know Anne Shirley would swoon over the word “sorbet”!

It’s a silly #Riotgram prompt. It’s my least favorite so far. But I swung at the pitch when it was thrown at me. What about you all – are there food pairings you think of to go with your favorite books?

The tradition we got suckered into.

March 28, 2017

I spent half my drive into work trying to figure it out: was it the first free program to get yanked, or had a short grant finally ended? Today is STAAR testing day – statewide mandatory testing of all non-testable skills and subjects of all classes ever classed. Or something. NOT BIG ON MANDATORY ONE-SIZE FITS ALL TESTIACNG. (Can ya tell?) And every other year, since Gracie was in 3rd grade and we kicked off on this adventure, the girls got a voucher for a few breakfast value meal from McDonald’s. This year? No coupons.

I actually tried (and think I succeeded at) mathing it out – if it was a five-year grant, and it started the year Gracie was in school, that means this would be the first year post-grant. Thus, no coupons. Maybe it was a grant funded by McDonald’s, aimed at getting good breakfasts every year into kiddos on test days in major cities. Maybe some other major city gets to start their five-year run this year. Maybe it was funded by the city and they put it on the chopping block. Maybe our school’s free breakfast program for every student was so successful they didn’t need to pay twice for the same advantage. Maybe not enough of the coupons were being redeemed. Dude, I better not have been the only parent dragging my butt outta bed early on test day!

Because I totally got suckered in. I think I did it the first year and it was a catastrophe – buying breakfast for the Bee-meister Meister-Burger because her sister had a coupon – and then made Gracie late or me late or something. And so I wasn’t going to do it the next year, but the Ex offered. And then it was a tradition and we all just kinda made it work for two days. Yes, eating a good breakfast is a good thing. But forcing little kids to get up 30 minutes early? A little counter-intuitive.

But! Test day. If the kids wanted to get up early, then fine. My sleep schedule has been so screwy, I didn’t care. Of course, then I didn’t fall asleep until 2:30 a.freakin’m., and really could have used that extra thirty minutes, but whatevs. I could pull it together. I even remembered to tell the Ex what the plan was for the morning, in case the girls were a little early or a little late. And offered to grab something for them or especially for the girls’ niece – because I believe walking into someone’s house with delicious breakfast food is rude, unless you’re going to share. Especially when one of the peoples is a three-year-old who wants whatever her aunties have!

Except, I don’t think the warning that the girls might be early really hit home because we pulled up to the house and it was dark-dark. “Dad sleeps until 6:30,” Gracie announced. “But I told him!” I whined. And then, as it hit me, “Uh…is the house alarm gonna go off if you use your key to go in?” “I think so,” she answered in a way that took all the doubt out of “think”. I thought we might be a few minutes early, but not 15-20 minutes. The only times I’ve gone through the drive-through, there’s been a huge back-up…probably because of the free coupons. I had no idea I was only going to need five extra minutes, or we all coulda slept in a bit more.

Dang it.

It was kinda funny when the three of us girls just looked at each other, collectively shrugged, and then Bee started handing out sausage biscuits. The hot cakes were a little messy for the car, but breakfast sandwiches? No problem. So we got to eat breakfast together in the dark of the car, idling in their dad’s neighborhood (sorry, neighbors, if that was keeping any of you up).

At least I don’t have to worry about it for another whole year. The girls get to spend the night with their dad tonight and the breakfast tradition baton is all his. Mwa ha ha!

Five for Friday.

March 10, 2017

I can get through this day. I can. And you can, too. C’mon, one foot in front of the other. And one bullet point in front of the other, too. C’mon, Katie…

1 The tree in my front yard is beginning to bud. Just teeny, tiny little green buds right now, so small you can only see them if you unfocus your eyes. But the buds are coming, and then there will be leaves. And even though I know allergies will kick it up a notch at Casa de Katie, it still fills me with hope and happy every time I see my tree come to life once again.

2 My mom’s birthday was this week, and I got to talk to her a little bit after the girls took turns. It wasn’t for very long because she was tired, and I could only make out a few words, but my mom rallied at the end long enough to yell at me to make everyone call more often. I sighed (to myself) and promised I would, but really I was thinking that my mom was going to garble the story with my aunts and you just know I was going to get yelled at for not calling my mom on her birthday.

3 I stopped at my favorite local Lebanese place for take-out last night. Um…again. The girls and I stopped on Wednesday, too. Yes, that’s two dinners in a row <insert Count von Count cackling muppetly over some thunder>. I walked in the door and stopped short when I saw it was the same waitress as the night before, but that’s okay because she did the same thing, too. We averted our eyes. She didn’t say anything about me being in two nights in a row for the same exact meal, and I didn’t mention that she was wearing the same clothes as the day before. Win-win!

4 I’m trying on a different outfit today, one that requires skinny jeans, Barbie sandals, a blousy shirt, and a fancypants spring-weight scarf. The scarf is killing me. I feel like I’m choking! I have to remind myself not to disassemble the scarf (who knows how twisted on it is at this point) and tear it from the outfit; that it’s the one piece tying everything else together. This is why we can’t have nice things. Friday is for comfort dressing. Not fancy dressing.

5 Here’s hoping I can bust through a few books from my backlist this weekend. I’m feeling like shaking off the cobwebs and curling up with allllll the books. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a coffee or four from my local bookstore and curl up on a chair there. It’s a good way to try the books on for size (and read an expensive hardcover or two).

There we go! Not a very glamorous list, but it got me through. It’s been that kind of week. The only excitement was when my brother turned the corner last night to find the house surrounded by fire trucks and ambulances. My mom fell – not seriously, she’s okay. They just needed help getting her up and my dad is nearly as bad off as my mom. I told my brother to tease my mom that there are easier ways to get our attention during the first day of free agency. And so she whacked him, which was my whole point. Heh.

Hope your weekends are the same: full of jusssst enough content that you keep from pulling crazy stunts to get attention. (But if you have a really good diversion tactic planned, let me know!)

Quote of the day.

January 19, 2017

It’s not often I get to capture these any more, and I thought we could use some levity this morning.

The setting: Bee and I were talking about food and our days, when all of a sudden her face lit up.

Bee: Oh! Mom! I had time to try something today at lunch and they were really good! The…I forget what they’re called. They’re pasta squares?
Me, thinking of cookies squares: Pasta squares?! Like…lasagna?
Bee: Nooo….
Me: Thick like a cookie square, but made of pasta mashed together?
Bee: No… You know, like the…
Me: Oh! Ravioli!
Bee: Yes! Those!

Little. pasta. squares. Oh my good gravy.

My favorite little monster chef.

November 7, 2016

Bee is serious about her cooking and baking, you guys. Just look what she’s up to…


We were baking monster cupcakes for Halloween, and little Miss asked if we had blue frosting. She’s getting better about this, because she thought to ask before we went grocery shopping. Which means even if I couldn’t find ready-made blue frosting, I could grab vanilla and we could make some.

But, no need! (I did grab extra googly eyes, though. You can never have too many googly eyes if you live at Casa de Katie.) Bee-girl baked the cupcakes for her new cooking show “Kids Can Cook!” and then decorated them all by herself. I was quick impressed with how furry she was able to get those monsters on her first attempt with any type of frosting tip.

She had a blast – right down to posing as Cookie Monster herself. As one does.

I have the girls again this weekend, and Bee is already pouring over cookbooks and Pinterest, and making notes in her Chef Cookbook journal. I’m scared I’ve created a…(wait for it)…monster.