Get Your Christmas On

Gotta love the holiday cooking shows where the size two hostess is daintily putting the finishing touches on her holiday cookies in her subway tiled, perfectly decorated festive kitchen filled with hordes of cards hanging from bows on the mantle. So what if yours are Scotch taped to the mantle and are a little sparse this year, begging the question are people saving money or do they just not like you anymore? Paranoid? I digress. Point is, your house may not have the ambience of the cooking shows, but you can still pull off some amazing treats (and feats!) in your own style. Why not throw an impromptu soiree while you’re at it? Might as well make the most of two weeks off of school, right? Impromptu ones are the best because everything is unexpected. Which really translates into a green light to be messy because after all, you just threw it together at the last minute and gosh, who has time to vacuum?

Get your Christmas on this year by doing just that. Pick a random night and invite some friends over with their kids. Take out some board games for them and some red wine for you. Throw on a little Christmas music and have everyone bring an appetizer. That way you can call it a Tapas party which sounds cool. As for you, try experimenting with new things you’ve never made before. Or better yet, cheat and doctor up stuff that’s pre-made. Here are a few of those pre-made items that seem to work for me:

  • Brie Wheel– Put some apricot jam on top of a round Brie and wrap and bake in Crescent roll dough (that’s not separated). Garnish with dried cranberries and serve with crackers. Or, if you don’t like it heated, serve a cold Brie with fig spread and french bread. To die for!
  • Swedish Meatballs – You can buy frozen pre-made meatballs at the grocery store and make your own sauce. In the crock pot add the meatballs, one jar of grape jelly and one jar of chili sauce. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. You can serve these right out of the crock pot with a spoon or by adding cute little toothpicks. Or just go to IKEA and eat theirs and tell your kids they’re at Disney World.
  • Chili Cups – Remember that chili that you made (and hopefully froze) on the no snow snow day? Well, defrost it. Heat it up and spoon it into tortilla chip cups and put a dollop of sour cream on top. Put them out on a platter.
  • Coscto Gingerbread Cookies – They’re in the refrigerator section and they’re break ‘n bake. And they’re amazing.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups – Buy the Break ‘n Bake ones and put them in mini cupcake cups. Stick a chocolate kiss or peanut butter cup in the middle immediately after removing from oven and you’ve got a party pleaser!
  • Mulled Wine – You’re taking your daily dose up a notch for the holidays. Pour a bottle of your favorite red wine (dry works best) in a pot and simmer. Add some cinnamon sticks, a few balls of nutmeg, some ginger, allspice and a few teaspoons of sugar. Keep on low for 20 minutes and strain.

*Remember* You can always make a crappy cake look like a million bucks with powdered sugar. Just sprinkle it on anything that looks bad and presto, it’s intentional! Peppermint sticks, chocolate kisses and fresh berries also do wonders.

No Snow Snow Day

Well in typical Georgia fashion, even the slightest prediction of snow will cancel school regardless of whether a flake actually makes it to the ground. This will then spawn the ultimate chaos, on the roads, in the grocery store, with 24 hour breaking news coverage (that usually has some sort of name like “Ice Rage 2010 or Sleet Madness ’10”), and ultimately, at my house. See a snow day where it isn’t actually snowing isn’t anything to celebrate at all. Because we won’t be snuggling up and drinking hot cocoa and giggling and making snow angels. Nooooo, we will be fighting, and I will be yelling, just like any other day when there’s no school. Fighting and yelling over everything. Toys, TV shows, dog duty, blankets, morning activities, snacks, lunch, more snacks…all while trying to finish work from day before. Nothing’s off limits on a ‘no snow snow day.’

Our Big 'Noreaster

I know, I know. I should relish these times. Soak in my children’s youth and adorableness. Well I’ll remember that later. But for now I’m not so psyched. Because lately, let’s just call a spade a spade. They’re a royal pain the butt and I’ve had it.

But cooking with them is an option so we’ll get to work seeing what we can concoct without even attempting to go to the store. Because the last thing I want to do is fight with some woman over a loaf of bread that I’ll never eat but feel like I have to buy.

Yeah, looks like it’s gonna be another crock of something. Just like this no snow snow day is a crock of something. I’ll just surrender and do it. Top it off with some chocolate chip cookies. Who knows when we’ll have this moment again.

No Snow Snow Day Chicken Chili


Ingredients:

  • One package ground chicken
  • One can red beans
  • One can white beans
  • One can black beans
  • One can corn
  • One can chick peas
  • One green pepper (chopped)
  • One large can chopped tomatoes with juice (may need more depending on how saucy you like it)
  • One can Rotelle Tomatoes with peppers (spicy!)
  • One onion
  • Two packets low sodium chili mix
  • S&P
  • Olive Oil
  • Toppings of your choice (chopped green onion, cheese)
  • White rice or Tortilla Chips

Directions:

  1. Chop onion and saute in a little olive oil.
  2. Add ground chicken and saute for a few minutes but not all the way (can still be a little pink).
  3. Drain.
  4. Put crock pot on low (or put pan on simmer on stove) and add meat/onion mixture.
  5. Throw everything else into pot and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add a dash of S&P.
  7. Cover and cook for an hour.
  8. Add more tomatoes or some water depending on how you like consistency.
  9. Serve over white rice or with crumbled tortilla chips.

*This is also a really easy party dish of nachos if you put the chili on top of a huge pile of tortilla chips and top with cheese then bake for 5-10 minutes until cheese melts.

And for dessert, we’ll do Chocolate Chip Cookies. *Secret* If you use your favorite recipe and only use brown sugar (add brown in place of the white in addition to brown that recipe calls for), your cookies will come out really tasty and different!

Feeding Bob

“Bob’s in town from Seattle for the night. I told him he should come for dinner instead of eat at the hotel.”

Of course. Um, who the hell is Bob again? “From accounting.” And we are having him for dinner because…he’s your boss? “No, just a guy from the Seattle office.” I get it. Yes, please bring him. Bring him right at 6 pm on a Tuesday night when everyone gets back from respective activities and there’s like two hours worth of homework and also think of something to impress your non-boss, Bob.

Now that Bob is coming for dinner I need to do two things:

1. Throw every single pile of crap into a closet, including laundry. Just need to remind myself that my AT&T bill is on top and service is about to be cancelled because I forgot to pay the bill.

2. Create some sort of mock-zen. Music and wine should do the trick. First, put on Ella Fitzgerald tunes on Pandora. Makes atmosphere look relaxed and sophisticated despite the fact that my kids are going to blow when they walk in. Open red wine and immediately down one glass. This will prevent unnecessary anxiety that kicks in right about 5 pm anyway but now that Bob’s coming it will definitely be at its peak any time Bob is not around and husband who invited Bob is.

Now, when Bob and husband walk in, there should be some sauteing going on to look casual. “My wife’s an amazing cook,” husband will say as he and Bob share a scotch. I will casually glance over and smile. “Bob, why hello. So glad you could join us.” When I’m really thinking, “So glad you could join us loser instead of taking my husband and me out to the steak place like most people do when they come into town so I can feed my kids chicken nuggets and get a babysitter.”

But Bob is not taking us to the steak place. Bob is coming over very, very soon. So tonight, Bob will be eating something that again I must resort to my freezer to excavate. A well stocked freezer is a busy woman’s best friend, like a drawer filled with new panty hose.

Bob, Bob, Bob, what shall I feed thee from Seattle? Fish? Nah. You can get better fish at home, Bob. But stir- fry, now that’s a satellite office pleaser. Take out those cute colored chopsticks that someone once got us and we’ve never used and all of a sudden we have a theme night.

Theme nights are great when the unexpected guest descends upon your household. Makes you look like a fun family. And everybody loves fun families.

So, join me in some very quick thinking and some very yummy chicken and broccoli stir fry. And let’s toast Bob from Seattle whom I hope I don’t have to entertain on the fly anytime again soon.

Me Versus the Fridge

The Sunday night pit is starting to sink in and it’s only 9:52 am. Not a good sign for the week ahead, especially since this week is the last one before two weeks of no school. Call me a downer (I call it a realist) but I’m trying to decide which person/scenario is going to annoy me the most:

1) Mom in daughter’s class who swears she won’t give something extra to teacher for holidays after contributing to very substantial class gift but then hands her $100 Nordstrom Gift Card at class party. (C’mon, you know the one…in the Yoga pants?)

2) Newspaper Delivery Man who misses 50% of newspaper deliveries but leaves SASE in mailbox thanking me for my patronage.

3) Kid who thinks my only job when I drop her at school is to drive around and buy her things for our upcoming trip such as headbands, tights and Miley Cyrus notebooks.

4) Client who will call me at 5 pm on Friday telling me that something is wrong with deliverables only 12 hours before I’m supposed to leave to go out of town.

5) Co-worker whom I get stuck next to at office holiday party and must pretend I like and listen to her smoker’s laugh.

6) Husband who doesn’t understand that yes, you have to give a Christmas gift to the exterminator. If there’s anyone I want at my beck and call it’s him (exterminator, not husband).

7) Woman who just took my friggin’ parking spot at the mall when she clearly saw I was waiting but because the car backed out instead of went the other way she was able to inch her way in. I HATE THIS WOMAN. HATE. I WANT TO KILL HER.

Not sure who winner will be yet. It’s a tight running and I may have to get back with results on Wednesday after class party, client meeting, office party, three mornings of being asked for stuff, and hopefully a bug-free house. But right now it’s the woman from the mall who stole my spot. There’s nothing that gets my blood boiling more.

But since it is Sunday I have to start thinking about all of these things. Organize work meetings. Get kids packed. Make sure all appropriate people are thanked. Clean out fridge. Which actually means I have to open my fridge. And doing so just annoys me more because I’m reminded that it’s doing a much better job of balancing it all than me.

And because it’s raining, and because it’s supposed to go down to like five below zero and because I didn’t work out, I don’t feel like doing much of anything. So I’m looking at some butter, some Parmesan cheese, some white wine and oh yeah, I think I’ve got some frozen tilapia filets in the freezer.

So tonight’s “I’m not going to the store under any circumstance” dinner will be Tilapia Parmesan. It’s healthier than lasagna because you don’t use noodles and it’s really good. Since there’s bound to be some tomato sauce and bread crumbs in the pantry (please be in there) and I always keep shredded cheese the only thing I really have to buy is ricotta which I’ll deal with later.

Tilapia Parmesan

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tilapia Filets (Frozen or Fresh – if frozen, stick in cold water for a few minutes)
  • 2 eggs
  • Seasoned bread crumbs
  • Jar tomato sauce
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • White wine
  • Shredded Mozzarella
  • S&P

Directions:

  1. Rinse and dry tilapia filets (you can also use any flaky white fish).
  2. Sprinkle with a little S&P.
  3. Beat eggs.
  4. Dip filets in eggs and coat with bread crumbs.
  5. Saute in a little olive oil (2 minutes on each side).
  6. Coat bottom of lasagna pan with tomato sauce.
  7. Place tilapia filets on top.
  8. Cover with ricotta cheese.
  9. Top with more sauce.
  10. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese.
  11. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese bubbles (do not overbake).
  12. If you have any leftover bread from the week, spread it with butter and sprinkle with S&P and some garlic salt and bake for 6-7 minutes until toasty.
  13. Realize I was supposed to put a little white wine in fish but forgot so just pour a glass and drink.
  14. Give yourself a high five for making awesome dinner using what you have!

Trendsetting at its Finest

Note to self: Next time you’re leaving for work, be sure and remove extra pair of kids’ tights hanging off of your person (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a way unrelated to airport security). It doesn’t do a thing for you when you’re trying to look cool among 20-something size 2 office staff to have a pair of Hello Kitty sweater tights dangling from your dress at the 10 am meeting. Of course when nobody says a word to you about it, you gotta wonder what kind of friends you really have at the office anyway. Well, maybe it was intentional. Yeah, maybe I just happened to read the latest issue of “How to look extra hip when you can probably breast feed the office staff” and one of the suggestions was to wear Hello Kitty tights from your belt. Yeah, it was intentional.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with food whatsoever other than the sheer fact that forgetting to take your daughter’s Hello Kitty tights off of your outfit because you told her to wear them but she had something else on already reminds me that I’m no longer a cool 20-something who goes to happy hour and talks about my hook-ups or last minute weekend getaways. What it does remind me is that if I don’t finish up my project I won’t be able to get to the store and figure out what’s for dinner. Oh, and I just got a call from school that I forgot to pack my kids’ lunches. No, I didn’t forget to pack them. They’re packed…and sitting on the kitchen counter. I was uh, planning for tomorrow. Intentional.

Wow, I’m way cool. I’m so cool that I think I’m going to keep the dangling Hello Kitty tights on my dress all day just to remind myself how cool I am. When people see me at the grocery store they’ll look at me and say “Wow, she is not just trendy, she’s uber-retro trendy because Hello Kitty is back in style.”

Yep, that’s me. Retro and uber-trendy and still clueless about what to make for dinner.

So now that I’ve wasted another five precious minutes of what could have been the finishing touches on a press release (or another chance to stalk someone on Facebook), I’ll just delay my departure from work. Which will really piss my kids off because if I’m not first in the two hour carpool line they think they’re latch key kids. Eh, save it for your therapist in ten years. That’s what she’ll be waiting to hear anyway. Might as well enjoy a few more minutes of wasted time in the office, right?

Now back to the issue at hand. First, remove Hello Kitty tights and stuff into overloaded purse. Un-crumple coupon that is sitting at the bottom of the purse. $1.00 off Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. Today is my lucky day. Hmm…what I can make with my special $1 off coupon that expires…oh, yesterday. Well let’s see if they notice.

Chicken Loaf (I hate the word loaf as much as I hate the word casserole and moist) wrapped in Crescent Rolls is really yummy. It’s hearty too. Grab a bag ‘o salad and you’re done!

I don’t like meatloaf because it’s too heavy and makes me feel like a truck driver. But Chicken Loaf (let’s change the name to Pain De Vinde which is meatloaf in french) is bon, bon, bon!

Here she is:

*Picture of Chicken Pain De Vinde came out awful (because rolls didn’t wrap right) so instead I’ll offer you this:

Ingredients

  • One package ground chicken
  • One onion (sliced)
  • Some mushrooms (handful or more, sliced)
  • One packet onion soup mix
  • One egg
  • Couple of squirts of Catsup
  • Splash of soy sauce
  • Bread crumbs (sprinkle about 1/3 cup worth)
  • Crescent Rolls

Directions

  1. Rinse ground chicken and put in bowl.
  2. Add everything except crescent rolls, mushrooms and onion.
  3. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Unroll Crescent rolls (but don’t separate) and place in bottom of ungreased baking pan.
  5. Form chicken mixture into loaf and place in another greased baking meatloaf pan. We’re getting fancy here and using two pans!
  6. Saute mushrooms and onion in a little olive oil until soft.
  7. Put saute mixture on top of loaf.
  8. Bake loaf at 375 for 30 minutes or so until meat is no longer pink, or oven isn’t on fire from previous night’s pizza that you forgot to clean up so it’s smoking heavily on the bottom. *Chicken loaf shouldn’t be 100% done yet so just check it to make sure because you’ll be putting it back in.
  9. Take out loaf and carefully move onto unwrapped crescent dough.
  10. Wrap sides of dough around loaf and make cute top (or just plop on top like I do). *Note, this is the seventh time I’ve used the word ‘loaf’ in this recipe. Sorry.
  11. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until dough is golden brown.
  12. Enjoy!

Anything But Cattle Call Buffet


mmm…please pass the Salmonella

 

Whenever I ask my kids where they want to go for dinner they say one of two places:Chick- fil-A or Sweet Tomatoes. Chick-Fil-A is a Southern staple…a place out-of-towners wax poetic about when they visit. But if you live near one it’s just another place to get fat no matter how solid their chicken bits are. Add the waffle fries and you might as well keep the high rise jeans I told you to get rid of.

Now Sweet Tomatoes is a fantastic concept in theory. It’s a large salad bar filled with tons of pre-cut fruits and vegetables, soups, sides and low fat ice cream. But the problem with Sweet Tomatoes is that it represents everything about America that disgusts me. Think midnight buffet on a cruise. Think hordes of people cramming into one space, vying for the tuna fish, beef slabs and Alfredo sauce. Eating as quickly and as much as possible so they can get to the next course. Piling mashed potatoes with slathered butter into their faces while accumulating masses of dishes so that their tables look like clearing stations. Do I make myself clear? It makes me anxious. It makes me embarrassed to be American. It makes me sick. It makes me not want to eat there.

Just the concept of ‘All You Can Eat’ is one that should be eliminated from our gastronomic vocabularies. But that’s not really fair now is it? How do I deny my kids the opportunity to eat perfectly prepped pre-cut vegetables simply because I have a problem with gluttonous Americans seeking the Early Bird Special? Does that make me an ageist? A buffetist? I can whine, or I can attempt to create my own little mini buffet. One where each spoon isn’t a petri dish of germs waiting to afflict my family with some unknown virus. One where the concept of a sneeze guard (an absolutely disgusting visual) does not exist. One where my kids’ grimy hands are the only grimy hands touching the utensils.

This thought fills me with control freak comfort. So despite the fact that they’re begging me to go out (something I usually take them up on) I just can’t hack it tonight. Instead we’re headed to the grocery store to pick up a few packages of pre-chopped anything so we can make our own little assembly line.

Tonight’s choice is Chicken Fajitas. They may use up a lot of bowls, but they’re easy and fun to assemble. And whoever cleans up first gets an extra scoop of double chocolate chip ice cream with sprinkles and marshmallows that they can stuff into their little mouths like the gluttons they are.

All You Can Eat Because They’re Grilled and I’m the Only One Who Touched Them
Chicken Fajitas



Ingredients:

  • One or Two Packages Thin Chicken Strips
  • One Lime
  • Liquid Smoke
  • Soy Sauce
  • One Garlic Clove (minced)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Chili Powder
  • S&P
  • Red and Green Peppers
  • One Package Shredded Lettuce
  • Whole Wheat Tortillas or Hard Taco Shells
  • One Can Black Beans
  • One Packet Yellow Rice
  • One Tomato
  • One Package Shredded Cheese

Directions:

  1. Wash chicken strips and put in bowl.
  2. Mix up next 8 ingredients (couple of splashes of each wet ingredient, couple of sprinkles of each dry) and pour over chicken.
  3. Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes (better if you do this in the morning before you leave for work or school).
  4. Grill chicken (on low) or saute on stove top on medium. I like when the little black lines form from the grill…makes it looks more professional.
  5. Cut peppers into strips and saute in a little oil and a pinch of S&P. When chicken is done add to peppers and saute together for one minute.
  6. Put all other ingredients into little bowls and line up on the counter.
  7. Have everyone make their own fajitas, tacos, salad or anything else they can pile on their plate.
  8. Enjoy and save the extras for tomorrow!

Just Another Manic Monday…

It’s always refreshing when your dog goes to the bathroom in the middle of the floor during dinner. Under the kitchen table. Nothing sets the ambiance more than a glass of wine, a nicely assembled plate of pasta and a pile of poop. The smell has pretty much permeated throughout the entire house as we sit here pondering “Now what?” and I’m also pondering “Whose dumb idea was this anyway?” and “When can I leave?”

What ensues would put Dr. Phil and Super Nanny into a tailspin. Half of a deliciously prepared dinner sits uneaten in one corner. One kid’s homework is spread out on the table (with just a tad of sauce on it) and my computer is now open at the other place setting (a cardinal No-No in the world of Super Nanny). The piano teacher has just arrived (whoops, forgot it was Monday) and the entire family is now growling at the dog because that’s what the trainer told us to do to show we’re pack leaders. Except when the piano teacher gets here we greet her with a growl instead of a hello. Oh, and during my five minutes of clarity I threw away every single piece of crumpled up paper from my youngest child’s backpack and now she’s screaming bloody murder because I threw away all of the “special projects I made just for mommy today at school!”

Not to mention the lights just went out because it’s pouring. I think I’m going to order Chinese. I wonder if they deliver valium. In New York they would. Oh yeah, I don’t live there anymore. I live in a city where THEY DON’T DELIVER CHINESE OR ANYTHING ELSE FOR THAT MATTER and you have to go and pick it up in the pouring rain. And it will probably be covered in grease. Or mayo.

So I guess we’re not ordering Chinese. We’ll take a Time-Out from our nicely assembled pasta (yes, recipe will follow) until all smells and growls subside. Everyone will get a bath. I’ll force myself to put my computer away and eat like a civilized human being. Or I just won’t eat. I’ll drink. Yes, tonight I’ll drink my dinner.

And the rest of the family will get pasta. The dog will get ignored. The carpet will get cleaned. And as Walter Cronkite would have said, “And That’s The Way It Is.”

And I’ll cry and miss these days in ten years when everyone is out of the house and there is no chaos.



Soup and a Side of Fryes

As a non-meal planner, I don’t spend my Sundays writing lists. I’ve never taken one to the grocery store and so I usually forget at least six things when I come home. I stare at those women with the coupons filed neatly in the organizers and I wish I could be like them.  Alas, the problem is always the same: How do you know what you need until you actually see it?

But this week is different. This week I’m incentivized to save. To cook for my family every night. To keep us out of restaurants. To show my children that I can be economically prudent when it comes to eating in.

Because this week…I want these:

Frye Paige Tall Riding Boots, $348
…and these aren’t cheap. These aren’t even on the economic radar despite my astronomically high income as a freelance writer. These are so far from being ‘needed’ that there needs to be a budget cut somewhere. And that cut is going to be dinner. Sorry kids. Frye Boots trump bountiful meals that vary in color and nutritional value.
After doing some basic calculations, I’ve figured out that for around $12, I can get at least three dinners and six school lunches out of one chicken. That saves me….let’s see…approximately $287.50 in meals for three days which means I only need like $60 more dollars for these Frye Boots! I know what you’re thinking: “You spend $287.50 in three days for food?” No, but I didn’t major in math either. Stop focusing on the $287.50 part and look at the fact that you can feed your entire family lunch AND dinner for three days for $12!! That’s a brilliant accomplishment. And a brilliant accomplishment is worthy of these:
Frye Over-the-Knee Riding Boots $448
(I show another style so you can empathize with my conundrum.)
Okay, so how to do it. Since everyone in my family is sick right now, it’s perfectly appropriate to couch my savings in the form of Chicken Soup. Just the smell of it cooking on the stove is worth $50 alone. Throw in another $10 for the medicinal benefits and I think I’m there!
Everyone I know has their own recipe for chicken soup. But mine is better. So if you want to stick with your family recipe, be my guest. I’m not offended. But if you want the best chicken soup (and chicken salad) in the world, try this. A special thanks to Roslyn Goldberg for taking me on as an apprentice when I was ten.
Chicken Soup and a Side of Fryes
Ingredients:
  • One roast chicken
  • One or two onions (you can save $.39 if you only use one)
  • Few stalks of celery
  • Bag of mini carrots that come back home in lunch box every day
  • Parsley (fresh is better)
  • Dill (fresh is better but dried is okay)
  • One Potato (diced)
  • S&P (Kosher salt, please)
  • Few Garlic Cloves
  • 2-4 heaping (and I mean heaping) TBSPs (not that I’m measuring) of powdered chicken stock (I use Telma or Carmel)

Directions:

  1. Rinse chicken.
  2. Put in pot and fill with enough water to cover chicken.
  3. Boil and throw out water (I do this to clean all the junk off chicken).
  4. Add more water to pot just enough to cover chicken.
  5. Add quartered onions, celery, potato, carrots.
  6. Put in as much parsley and dill as you want.
  7. Throw in a few whole (peeled) garlic cloves.
  8. Three pinches of S&P.
  9. Add powdered stock.
  10. Bring to a boil.
  11. Once boiling, immediately turn to low and cover. Let simmer for at least four hours.
  12. Turn off stove and let it cool before putting in fridge.

Now, here’s the fun part. You don’t want to lose any broth in the process because it needs to keep its currency value!

  1. Grab another pot and put a strainer inside so it sits on top.
  2. Dump the soup into the strainer (chicken and veggies will still be in it).
  3. Carefully take the chicken out of the strainer and put in  another bowl. Throw away bones.

Soup will now look like this.

18. Remove carrots and put them back into your soup.
19. Now, mash the rest of those veggies in the strainer. Push ‘em down. Let those juices flow!
When you’re done you can toss them or if you like a thicker soup, puree in blender and put back in soup. Serve with noodles. Remember to skim fat off top after refrigerating (but don’t refrigerate until fully cool). Freezes GREAT!
For Chicken Salad
  1. Chop chicken coarsely and add a dash of S&P. Add a scoop or two of Mayonnaise. (If you live in Georgia or Alabama, add the entire jar of Mayonnaise).
  2. Throw in some chopped raw celery if you have any left.
  3. Should make approximately 5-8 sandwiches depending on how high you pile it up!
  4. Visit Zappos.com.
  5. Enjoy boots.

 

How to Be Gone for an Entire Day and Feed Your Family Without Them Actually Knowing You’re Out of the House

Black Friday. It’s a day I typically could care less about. Actually that’s not true. I do care. It’s just that I haven’t been to the mall the day after Thanksgiving in about ten years. The reason for this isn’t because I don’t like to shop. It’s because taking an entire day to myself to shop seems like the ultimate luxury (one that my kids would highly oppose) and bringing my kids with me to the mall would be absolute hell.
But now that I’m older and wiser, I realize it’s not necessarily about my actual presence in the household that is needed as much as it is about sustenance. Sustenance that is required pretty much every 20 minutes. So today’s Kitchen Chaos is  strategically planned food that pre-empts anyone asking for anything for ten hours.
Your goal: To leave the house by 6 am and slip back in by 4 pm without one phone call from home. A full day of uninterrupted shopping bliss. Of course seeing that it’s already 8 am EST and my dog already had an accident on my rug, I’m two hours behind schedule so this is for my West Coast Friends.
So…here’s your recipe for today.
  • 5 am. Wake up. Bag the shower and toss on something really comfortable (don’t forget the baseball hat).
  • Quietly creep downstairs. Let out dog immediately so no one wakes up.
  • Place two frozen waffles in the toaster. Remove oven mitt from drawer and leave next to toaster along with two napkins.
  • Pre-set coffee maker for 7 am.
  • Remove frozen Pigs ‘n Blankets from box in freezer and put on cookie sheet. Put cookie sheet back in freezer.
  • Leave sticky note on oven that reads “At 3 pm put in Pigs ‘n Blankets on 400 for 20 minutes.” Leave another sticky note on freezer that reads “Pigs ‘n Blankets.”
  • Take out box of Mac ‘n Cheese, colander and wooden spoon and leave next to stove.
  • Leave four fruit roll-ups and two bananas on the counter. Grab Dominoes coupon and leave on counter with $20.
  • Let dog in. Feed dog.
  • Get the hell out. (Now’s your only chance because you’ve already created a bit of noise and the natives are starting to stir.)
Now, when kids wake up, dog will have been walked and fed. Frozen waffles are ready to be toasted, coffee is made and tools for mac ‘n cheese are easily accessible when husband calls to ask “Where are the pots and pans?”
When husband gets sick of hanging out with kids and turns on football, Pigs ‘n Blankets will be ready to go. If husband calls to ask “Where is the kitchen?” just say “Wrong number” and hang up.
There are no excuses. You’ve even left out the snacks.
By the time you come home at 4 pm your family won’t even know you were gone all day and will simply ask “What’s for dinner?” as if you were there all along.
*Small Snafu*
If dog has already taken the liberty to go to the bathroom on your rug, because your timing was .0004 seconds off, dart. Dart like you didn’t see it. Dart like the smell was still too new to actually make it to your nose. Play dumb. Just get out.

“You’re only bringing one side to Thanksgiving?” Last Minute Addition

My bad. I thought I was actually invited to your house this time. The squash dish was just a little something to show you how much I love you. I didn’t realize you were expecting me to bring more. That’s cool. I can do it. Sure, it’s no problem. Doesn’t matter that I’ve cooked like one million meals for you and your family before. No, don’t worry, I can totally do it. It’s nothing. Really. I’ll just leave work at noon, run to the store, go home, take out the dog, grab carpool, come home, help with homework and make that extra dish. Easy as pie.

You want what? Something vegan? I don’t even know what that means. Can I use butter? No? Eggs? No? What the hell?

Of course I’m sensitive to your cousin Sandra’s allergies. I don’t even know who she is but I’m a sensitive person. So, yes, I will make you a last minute VEGAN dish that feeds…how many? 35? I see.

Yeah, Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

*Note on Dealing with Annoying Peeps During Thanksgiving*
If you can hold your alcohol, drink. It makes everything easier. If this is not an option, then do what my dad told me to do once when I was getting bullied at school. Close your eyes and take out a big pretend can of Polyurethane and coat yourself with it. Slather it on thick. Whenever anyone says something to annoy you, pretend it’s raining outside and say “Ping!” in your head and make a little flick with your fingers. Watch the bead of rain bounce off of you. You may be saying “Ping!”a lot and flicking the air, but who cares. See, I just saved you $125 in therapy bills with my sensory exercise.