Thursday, April 29, 2010


Lunch: Shredded Beef Sandwiches and Chips
Dinner: Pulled Pork Tacos, Rice and Corn
Dessert: Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bah! The grocery thieves strike again! There is no cheese left for tacos tonight… literally no cheese. They stole the last of it last night. Oh well, I don’t feel bad. I’m fairly sure the brothers will ferret out who these cheese weasels are and make them pay. Luckily the pulled pork turned out excellent, so it doesn’t really need cheese. I would be perfectly happy to sit there and eat it with tortillas… although if I were to serve it to guests, I would serve it with queso fresco, fresh cilantro, black beans and lime wedges, but that’s just me. Mmmm… sounds good. Apparently it smelled really good, because the brothers kept coming down and commenting on how delicious it smelled. I love comments like that. I rewarded one of the boys with a bite of the pork (I was shredding it at the time).

I didn’t realize, but today was unintentionally shredded meat day. I made shredded beef sandwiches for lunch and there was shredded pork tacos for dinner. Oops! I generally try to keep things mixed up, but sometimes it’s all I can do just to keep from having chicken for lunch and for dinner. The shredded beef sandwiches I made for lunch were a bit of an experiment. I have seen other recipes for shredded beef, but I wanted something simple with a little kick. I really like how it turned out. They are excellent served on toasted buns with swiss or provolone cheese and the sauce on the side to dip it.

Shredded Beef Sandwiches
Serves 10

4-5 lb Beef Roast
4 cups Beef Broth
2 tsp oregano
1 tbs Hot Sauce (optional)
1 bay leaf
Salt and Pepper

Salt and Pepper the roast and put it in the crockpot. Mix together the beef broth, oregano, hot sauce and bay leaf and pour over the roast. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours. Remove the roast and siphon as much fat as possible from the liquid *. Shred the beef with two forks.

* If you’re making this ahead of time (like I did) leave the roast whole and put the roast and the liquid in the fridge. Then when you’re ready to warm it up, you can remove the hardened fat with a spoon and then shred the beef.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Twilight Zone

Lunch: Bacon Mac and Cheese and Pineapple Tidbits
Dinner: Swiss Steak with Peppers, Rice and Salad

Today feels a little like a Twilight Zone episode. I know it's supposed to be a Tuesday in late April, but I feel like it's a Saturday in late October, early November. Here's why:
1.I had to get groceries yesterday (something I generally do on Fridays)
2.Tyler had to work late last night (something he usually only does on Fridays)
3.It's chilly, windy and gray outside like it would be in late October/ early November
4.We moved into a creepy house and I'm already planning on how to decorate it for Halloween

Of course, it also feels a bit like the 4th of July should be next week because for the last several years, we've moved at the end of June and last year we had a 4th of July party (our old back yard was a prime fireworks shooting space). Well, we just moved and are talking about having a party in a few weeks. My family let me know that a party was pretty much mandatory. My family does not mess around when it comes to parties and any event that might need celebrating is generally celebrated. Oh, and Tyler and I (the designated party throwers of our group of friends) haven't had a party in a while.

Steak with Peppers
20 servings

24 Round Steaks, ½ inch thick
1 can (6lb 6oz) Crushed Tomatoes
6 Green Bell Peppers, sliced into thin strips
2 Onions, sliced into thin strips
¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce
4 cups Beef Broth
2 tbs Ground Black Pepper
8 cloves Garlic, minced

Mix together the Worcestershire sauce, crushed tomatoes, beef broth, ground black pepper, and minced garlic. Put round steaks, pepper and onions in crock pot; pour tomato mixture over steak and peppers. Cook over high heat for 6 hours or low heat for 8 hours. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Our House is a Very Very Odd House

Dear friends and readers, I’m blogging today beacause: a. I probably won’t be able to blog tomorrow (more on that later) b. my husband and his friends are blowing each other up in our living room and it’s loud and rather boring for those not blowing each other up and c. I decided to give myself a day off from packing/ unpacking/ moving/ cleaning and enjoy the lovely day.

So the reason I won’t be blogging tomorrow (most likely, unless something crazy happens, of which there is a strong likelihood) is that I have to get groceries, all of the groceries. I was all set and ready to get groceries Friday, but they neglected to mention the frat house would be “closing” at 10am Friday for initiation of the pledges this weekend. I’m not sure what secret things they needed to do between 11am and 2pm on a Friday afternoon and what it had to do with the kitchen but I didn’t want to ask. (It’s supposed to be secret, right? It’s not like they’d tell me even if I did ask.) Well, I wasn’t particularly happy about having to get groceries Monday because that always makes Monday’s extra stressful. Grocery shopping can take awhile and I’m rarely back before 2 let alone have the groceries unloaded and ready to cook. Grrr..

In other news, I decided to take today off. I’m tired and have been packing/ unpacking/ cleaning/ moving nonstop for some time now. Today will be the first day in a while that I’ve just relaxed. I thought it might be fun to show you some of the oddities we found in our new house. DISCLAIMER: We are still in the process of moving in, so please do not judge any stacks of boxes, undecorated walls, etc. Also, I am not exactly design inclined when it comes to interior decorating (nor do I have the budget to be) so please… don’t judge.

This is our house… Hi House! (I told it was rather homely on the outside)

This is our mail box… please note the fact that there is no gate anywhere near the mail box. We have to walk all the way around the yard to get the mail. (Big Mail Fail!)

This is the cute porch light cover on our front porch. Please note: that is not our house number. Why is there a porch light cover with a house number that is not even close to ours, I do not know.

This is the seesaw. Would you like to come and play seesaw at our house? It’s a fun ride, you just have to have your tetanus shots up to date and sign a disclaimer.

This is the cat I found in the cupboard (looks remarkably like our cat George…)

This is the enormous dog rug I found in the guest bedroom.

This is the really weird, very stained old sink. I think it was put in before indoor plumbing was invented. Look at the faucet… it’s off center and does not belong with this sink and there are no holes for another faucet.

And here’s our tiny little bathroom. Why yes, that is a window in the shower. Very convenient when you want to flash the neighbors from the privacy of your own home.

These are some of the weird gang signs drawn in the guest bedroom closet. Awesome.

This is the doorframe for that closet. Please notice that someone tried to screw/nail it shut several times. Apparently they didn’t want anyone to know about the gang signs in the closet.

These are the very creepy stairs up to our very creepy attic. Please note the really creepy lace curtains hanging in the middle of the room for no apparent reason other than to be really creepy.

And finally this is a picture of our creepy attic with the really creepy children’s rocking chair and various things. With the wall decor and the multitude of toys including some scary old dolls (not pictured) we have reason to believe this may have, at one time, been a children’s play area. The question is, who would do that to their child?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Help! Lasagna Has Taken Over My Kitchen

Lunch: Ham and Turkey Sub Sandwiches, Chips and Carrot Sticks
Dinner: Beef Lasagna, Salad, and Garlic Toast
Dessert: Chocolate Cake w/ Vanilla Frosting and Yellow Cake w/ Chocolate Frosting

Ok… so this will be a short post today. I’m dead beat. Tired is making and frosting 6 cakes. Really tired is making homemade lasagna and cake. Dead exhausted is making 6 cakes and over 60 pounds of homemade lasagna. Yup, that’s right, over 60 pounds. Just getting out the ingredients is enough to make you tired. So what does 60 lbs of lasagna look like? I wish I had brought my camera… it was an awesome sight. The lasagna was in 4 deep pans that were a little larger than 12 x 24 and each weighed over 15 pounds. So what goes into 60 pounds of lasagna? Here’s a clue:

15 pounds of Hamburger Meat
8 pounds Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
8 pounds Ricotta Cheese
13 pounds Prepared Spaghetti Sauce
6 ½ pounds Crushed Tomatoes
6 ½ pounds Tomato Sauce
5 pounds Lasagna Noodles

That doesn’t include the eggs, the seasonings, the onions, the tomato paste, the garlic etc etc.

All that and 6, yes count them 6 cakes. I made 3 chocolate and 3 yellow cakes. My arms are tired from stirring. I burnt my fingers and my back hurts from lifting the pot of boiling noodles. All this was after making lunch and while making salad and garlic toast… for 40. All that and one of the frat boys walked in and had the nerve to say, “I hope that lasagna is good” as if there was any question that it wouldn’t be good. I asked if he liked my spaghetti… he said he couldn’t remember my making spaghetti. Oy! Seriously? I probably make spaghetti or at the very least spaghetti sauce at least once every other week. Sometimes I don’t know why I exert myself. Perhaps I should have made something easy. Something where I wouldn’t burn my fingers and strain my back. Something that would at least leave me time enough to eat lunch and dink around on the internet for a couple hours.

But you have to admit, 60 pounds of lasagna is a pretty awesome feat. Do you think I can put that on my resume under a list of accomplishments?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hooray Home Depot Guy!

Lunch: Turkey Nachos (boy I’m sneaky, I didn’t tell them it was turkey)
Dinner: Italian Chicken and Sausage Soup

Oy, it has been a hectic week already! Is this week over yet? Cooking for 40+ requires soo much more work. It also makes it more difficult in that I only have 1 oven. There is only so much space which means that things have to be cooked in stages, and it is likely that something is going to cool down or dry out. The lovely roasts I made last night ended up a little dry because I had to make them hours in advance in order to make the roasted potatoes. I should have made gravy, but I didn’t think about it. Today I made my Italian chicken and sausage soup for the guys and Tyler was completely jealous. He loves Italian chicken and sausage soup. The problem is our stove is currently non operative. Mom and dad graciously donated their stove to us because the one that came with our rental house was old and icky. The landlord was also kind enough to run in a gas line for us. The problem is getting it all connected. We went out to get a new gas line (as you’re supposed to do) but the connections didn’t match. The kit only has one male/male connector and we needed two. I went to every hardware store in town trying to find one that A. knew what I was talking about and B. had the piece. I really didn’t think this was rocket science. Here’s how the conversation went at Ace Hardware:
I brought in the kit with the piece I needed and showed it to a person in the department and said “I need another one of these”.
Ace Guy: “You need a male/female one?”
Me: “No, I need this exact one. Male/Male” I show it to him.
Ace Guy: “Hmmm… well let’s see what we can put together for you”
He then tried to put together some sort of contraption with all sorts of expensive connectors, and it still wasn’t what I was looking for.
Ace Guy: “Well, you know, I think you should have everything you need in that kit. You shouldn’t need another one”
Then I went back to Home Depot. The first time I was there I couldn’t find a person to talk to. Then Tyler went. Then I went back again. You see they have only one type of connector for gas lines. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong size. Why would you have a gas connector that doesn’t fit the lines you sell? It makes no sense. Well, the final time I went I found a gentleman in the plumbing area. He helped me look for a minute, and then he pulled down one of the kits, “You just need this part right here, right?”
Me: “Yes!”
Home depot guy then ripped open the package, took out the part and handed it to us. He said we could look at every hardware store in Atlanta and we probably weren’t going to find it and he wasn’t going to make us buy a whole new kit for a $2 connector. So, I would just like to say, in a public forum, thank you home depot guy you restored my faith in humanity. It’s good to know not everyone out there is a soulless boob like the people at ATT&T (more on that tomorrow, the anger is still too fresh).

The moral of the story is, we currently have a non operative stove and I don’t like eating fast food. We’re definitely putting the old crock pot to good use. Tomorrow I’m going to try making Italian chicken soup in the crock pot for Tyler. I’ll have to let you know how that turns out. Last night we made mock beef burgundy. I generally hate any sort of recipe that has mock in the title… so we’re going to christen this recipe “Faux Beef Burgundy”. Faux sounds so much better than mock. Someday I’ll tell you about Mock Yummy Good Surprise. This recipe is great if you just want to throw stuff in a pot and forget about it. That’s all you do; you dump the ingredients together and forget about it until you get home and smell the wonderfulness. It is excellent served over egg noodles or mashed potatoes (while they are nowhere near as good as real mashed potatoes, if you use the Oreida steam and mash variety you can get dinner on the table 10 minutes after you get home.)

Faux Beef Burgandy
Serves 6

1 ½ lbs Beef Stew Meat
1 can Beef Consommé
1 can Condensed Cream of Golden Mushroom Soup
1 packet Onion Soup Mix
1 soup can worth of Dry Red Wine
1 jar Button Mushrooms, drained

Put stew meat and mushrooms in crock pot. Mix together the onion soup mix, the beef consommé, the golden mushroom soup and the dry red wine; pour over beef and mushrooms. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm Sorry

Lunch: BLT’s and Chips
Dinner: Chili and Cornbread

I would like to apologize in advance if I end up being spotty on the posts this week. If you want to hear the excuses, here they are: We’re in the middle of moving… still, so my nights are a little tied up. This week is initiation week at the frat house which means I have to cook for all the pledges and brothers… we’re talking double what I normally fix… so I might be a little busier than normal. I do promise to try and post this week. I certainly have plenty to say. But, I guess you already knew that. Hmm… perhaps I should apologize for that as well. Well… I’m sorry I’m such an opinionated loudmouth, but then again, if I weren’t, I probably wouldn’t be a blogger so… I guess it all works out. I would also like to apologize for my blatant over use of ellipses; I do love them so.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I would like to say that I hate moving. I really really really hate moving, and when I win the lottery, I’m not going move anything ever again. I’m even going to get a special assistant just to bring the groceries into the house. So… here’s hoping that I win the lottery tomorrow or Wednesday ($143 million and $252 million respectively). I’ll let you know if I do because then I can afford to start having giveaways here… (ellipse!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Yesterday, or How I Lost My Butt

Lunch: Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket and Chips
Dinner: Hungarian Goulash, Egg Noodles and Mixed Veggies

The last 24 hours have been very hectic. After I left work yesterday afternoon, I got a call from my landlord. You see, I’ve been trying to get in touch with my landlord for the past 2 weeks to try and tell him that we were planning on moving out. But he never called me back… We found out from our neighbors that he was in the hospital, but is out now and is all better. Well, the neighbors told him yesterday that we were planning to move apparently because I got a call from him. I’ve come to believe you have to be a strange sort of person to be a landlord. All the landlords I’ve ever had have been strange. The current and the new one are no exceptions. Anyway, the landlord informed me that he had someone interested in buying the house, but they wanted to do it before the end of the month (homebuyer credit) and so they needed to come look at the house tomorrow (as in today, Wednesday). What! EEEK! Let me tell you a little secret about myself, I’m messy. Now let me tell you a little secret about my husband, he’s messy. We’re both messy, disorganized people (except for when I’m at work, strangely I can keep a million things straight and my desk neat at work… when I come home, well that’s another story). To make matters worse, we haven’t really been home to clean. And if all that weren’t bad enough, we’re in the middle of trying to pack all of our belongings. Last time we moved, I was out of work and had time to keep the house clean and organize and pack things neatly. This time, we’re both working and just sort of packing and hauling as we go with no sense of organization. Our house looked something like a war zone, complete with orange Georgia clay foot prints all over the carpet from our dog. A note on Georgia clay and white carpets: they don’t mix, thank God our new house has wood floors! When he told me they had to see it today, I could have cried. Instead, I called Tyler and we spent the next 5 hours working our butts off. The house is immaculate. I rented a carpet cleaner and steamed the Georgia clay out of the carpets. We threw all of the messy disorganization that was our closets into boxes; heaven help us when it comes to unpacking time. The downside is, I’m fairly sure I have no butt now because it sure is sore when I sit down. The upside is, now we won’t have to worry about cleaning after we move… we’ve done most of the work already.

Because we were up so late cleaning last night, I decided to sleep in an extra hour and drive to work rather than take the bus. Boy am I glad I did, the bus I normally take was sitting broken down on the side of the road. Hooray for avoiding bus drama by sleeping in!

When I got to work this morning, the kitchen smelled like gas. In fact, the whole basement smelled like gas. It was time to get drastic. I e-mail/ texted all of the top dogs and let them know that either the stove needed to be fixed by 2pm or I was going home and staying there until the stove was fixed. Well, apparently they had a technician out last night to fix it. He said the lines were clogged and needed to be cleaned and the pilot lights were out. Well, he cleaned the lines and all, but did not relight the pilot lights for the broiler… so the kitchen filled with gas. Luckily, no one exploded. We shut off the gas to the broiler because the broiler is nasty and broken and it makes no sense for those pilot lights to be on.

Now dinner is almost done, I’m just waiting on the egg noodles to finish. Tonight I’m making Hungarian goulash for the guys. I love goulash. I especially love goulash from the Bohemian Café in Omaha. I decided that goulash would be perfect for the guys because it’s meat slow simmered in a tomato based sauce served over noodles. It’s very man foodish. It does require one special and sometime hard to find ingredient: Hungarian style paprika. It is important that you don’t use just any old paprika. Hungarian style paprika is different, it’s sweeter and less bitter. It isn’t that expensive, it just may be difficult to find at a small grocery store.

Hungarian Goulash
serves 25

10 lbs Beef Stew Meat
12 medium Carrots, roughly chopped
4 medium Onions, cut into thin strips
1 head of Garlic, minced
7 cans Tomato Paste
3 cans Tomato Sauce
½ cup Hungarian Paprika (sweet, not hot)
1 tbs Salt
1 tbs Carraway Seed
1 ½ tbs Pepper
6 Bay Leaves
12 Green Bell Peppers, cut into thin strips
Vegetable oil

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet. Brown beef on all sides. Drain and add beef and remaining ingredients except for the green bell pepper into a crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Turn the crock pot to high and add peppers; cook for 30 minutes. Serve over egg noodles.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Lunch: Sloppy Joes, Chips, Carrots and Dip
Dinner: Pork Chops with Stuffing and Salad

Argh! I am so frustrated right now! The stove is still broken… they told me they were getting it fixed today. Well as of my writing this post (at 4pm) no one has been here to fix it. I had to try to make sloppy joes on it and it nearly took my eyebrows off. Luckily I had just finished the sloppy joes, but as I was about to turn off the stove, the gas flared and I was very glad I was wearing my headscarf… I am not happy! To make matters worse, the guys are stealing again. They ate the pepperoni that was to be for Thursday’s French bread pizza. Well… they’ve angered the chef! I will not be replacing the pepperoni. They can just have cheese pizzas. And if the stove isn’t fixed tomorrow, they won’t be having anything. I like having hair and eyebrows and not having 3rd degree burns on my face and/or hands.

Today’s recipe is for yellow rice. It’s also called saffron rice, but, as saffron is the world’s most expensive spice, we’re not using saffron and so I call it yellow rice. I like yellow rice; it’s very aromatic but has a mild flavor.

Yellow Rice
Serves 25

9 cups of Long Grain Rice
1 ½ tbs Tumeric
1 ½ tbs Cumin
½ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Ground Cayenne Pepper
10 cups Chicken Broth
8 cups Water

In a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, stir together spices. Continue stirring until spices become aromatic, approximately 1 minute. Remove spices from heat. Add spices, rice, chicken broth and water to a large pot with a lid. Heat over high heat until boiling, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is done.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Lunch: Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Chips and Pineapple Tidbits
Dinner: Jerked Chicken, Yellow Rice and Veggies

Disaster is temporarily averted. I did not blow up. You may feel free to breathe out a sigh of relief now. In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, there could have very nearly been a disaster today. I was working in the kitchen as usual (read: dinking around on the internet) when I started to get a terrible headache. I went outside for a little air, and upon returning, noticed the kitchen smelled like gas. I checked all of the knobs on the stove to be sure they were in the proper off position; they were. I asked a passing frat boy if he thought the kitchens smelled like gas, and he confirmed it. I had to get in touch with the higher ups and let them know. They came down and started sniffing around, determined it was one of the stove burners leaking and then shut off the main gas line. Ok… well that makes it hard to cook. So I waited awhile for them to get in contact with someone… then the time for me to start cooking came and went. By the time 3 o’clock rolled around, I was beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t just go home. I called the president of the fraternity to determine what was being done. He said they weren’t going to be able to get anyone out there until tomorrow. So, he lit the offending burner and turned it on low. Eeft! I was terrified the whole thing would blow. I let them know that in no uncertain terms would I cook like that again tomorrow. They had to get it fixed, pronto. It’s just too dangerous otherwise. The kitchen is poorly ventilated. What would have happened if I hadn’t discovered it till tomorrow and then went to light the stove…? I say again, eeft!

I really must apologize for my spotty posting of late. I’m in the middle of trying to get our house cleaned, packed and moved. So unless I can get my post done on the bus, then I’m not going to get a post out that night. It isn’t always possible to get a post done on the bus either. Frequently, I’ll have large seat mates who take up more than their own seat so I can’t put my computer on my lap, or the person in front of me will lean their seat back so far they’re practically in my lap (the commuter buses are like greyhound buses). Once, I even had a seat mate that kept falling asleep on me.

If I ever do find a real job (like Pinocchio, he wanted to be a real boy… well, I want to have a real job), I think I know what I’m going to re-name my blog… “Cooking by the Seat of Your Pants” Do you like it? I think it’s a rather apt description of my cooking style. I have a tendency to just throw myself into it and see how it goes. I never follow recipes exactly. I might research different recipes, trying to find one that describes what I’m trying to achieve or to give me ideas on the general method or cook times, but I always end up changing it as I’m going. I frequently, especially at home, just dive into my cupboards to see what will go with what. Although, I’ve become rather accustomed to doing that at work too when the guys thieve my ingredients and I have to make on the fly substitutions. This week I decided to make jerk chicken for the guys. I had a couple jars of jerk seasoning blend leftover from a previous recipe and decided that I would just get some chicken and figure something out. Well, it wouldn’t work just to sprinkle the seasoning on the thighs and legs I got. The skin would be tasty, but the meat would be bland. Well… I served pineapple for lunch, and I always pour the juice off canned pineapple and save it. (I love the juice from a can of pineapple, my siblings and I used to fight over who got to drink the juice when we had canned pineapple at home). But there was only about 3 cups of pineapple juice… not really enough, I needed something else… To the fridge! Hmm… Leftover orange juice from Friday’s lunch? Ok! Mayo… no Mustard…. no… Pickles, probably not. Ah ha! Soy sauce. Pineapple juice and soy sauce make a great base for teriyaki marinade. Asian food has a lot of the same blending of sweet and hot that Jamaican cuisine is known for. We’ll use that! Voila, add in the orange juice and jerk seasoning and you have a respectable marinade. Maybe not authentic, but we’re not necessarily going for authentic; we’re going for tasty. The minute I blended it together I knew we had a winner. And that my friends is a brief glimpse into how I cook.

What was in the Fridge Jerk Chicken
serves 24

48 Chicken Legs and/or Thighs
3 cups Pineapple Juice
3 cups Orange Juice
1/3 cup Soy Sauce
2 bottles Jerk Seasoning Blend

Blend the orange juice, pineapple juice, soy sauce and jerk seasoning together. Pour over chicken legs and thighs. Cover and marinate at least 4 hours or overnight (overnight is better).

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a shallow oven proof casserole or roasting pan. Place chicken, skin side up in casserole; discard marinade. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165 degrees. Skin may blacken a little.

(You can use a homemade jerk seasoning blend, there are plenty of recipes out there. Use about 1/3 to ½ cup or seasoning blend for this recipe)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Lunch: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Dinner: Pot Roast, Roasted Potatoes and Veggies

So the count down begins for both the end of the semester and for Tyler and I to move. I hate moving; I hate packing; I hate unpacking. Since I started college (way back in 2003), I’ve moved at least once a year. I really hate it. However, we’re renters. With every house we’ve rented there’s always a catch, something that we’ve disliked. Something we’re sure we’ll find an improvement upon in the next house. When you’re a renter, you can’t improve a house, not in any real sense. If you have leaky windows and doors, you’re not going to make an investment in fixing them. If you need a fenced-in yard and you don’t have one, you’re not going try to put one up. And if your living room is oddly shaped and only has 1 power outlet which is nowhere near the cable outlet, you’re definitely not going to rewire the house (a. we don’t know how b. we’re not going to pay someone to do it). Then there’s always the idea that there’s something better, something cheaper out there. Towards the end of your lease you start to wonder if the perfect house (for the perfect price, at the perfect location) isn’t out there and you’re just about to miss it. Well, our new house is far from perfect. In fact, on the outside it’s downright ugly and the kitchen and bathroom are ugly too. However, it’s nearly $300 cheaper and it’s in town (not 20 minutes outside of town in the sticks like our current house). It also has a fenced in yard, a ton of storage space, pretty wood floors, and nicely sized rooms. Did I mention that’s it’s nearly $300 cheaper and not out in the boonies? We’re also fairly sure it’s haunted. It looks like it should be haunted. The attic stairs are narrow, dark and super creepy and when we first looked at the house there was a creepy, broken child’s rocking chair in the attic. I love it. I love creepy old houses. I tried to get Tyler to talk the people from the Gaithers Plantation (which is down the road from where we currently live) to let us stay there overnight. Tyler was out there covering a story about it for the newspaper for Halloween (my birthday). It’s supposed to be really haunted. He didn’t ask; I think he was afraid.

The other major news is, it’s nearly the end of the semester, which means I’m nearly out of a job. The guys don’t keep a cook for the summer (which is silly as there are still plenty of guys living there). So during all of my down time at work I’ve been sending out my resume and researching job opportunities. Any one want to hire me? I’m a hard worker and have an excellent office/ administrative background. I’ll bring you cookies… Please? Applying for jobs is so stressful and somewhat disheartening. You see a job you want to apply for. You spend a good amount of time tweaking your resume and cover letter so it’s just perfect. You try to make it say all those things that are simply impossible to convey on paper, but that are key to getting the position: that you’re a motivated, hard worker, that you’re organized and good at time management, that you’re professional and courteous, that you’re smart and a quick learner, that just because you’ve never worked in that specific industry or with that specific computer program doesn’t mean you won’t be able to understand and get it right away, that you are absolutely sure that within mere weeks of being hired, you will become an indispensable, integral part of their team, and you’ll bake them cookies. Then you send it out like a little bird from the nest, and wait for a response to come flying back to you. But… it doesn’t. You begin to wonder, “Did they get it? Is it lost out there somewhere in cyberspace? Is it sitting at the bottom of thousands of other resumes, never to see the light of day? Did they use it to spit their gum into or to wipe up some spilled coffee?”. The waiting is terrible, and 99.9% of the time, you won’t hear a word from them. The first week, you’re excited about all the opportunities and are optomistic. By the third week, you’re despondent. I know you’re not supposed to take it personally, but it’s terribly hard not to. Couldn’t they at least send out a quick form e-mail letting us poor applicants know that they’ve actually received our resume and when to give up hope (as in, thanks, but no thanks). After almost 2 years of job hunting (off and on), I’m not sure which is worse, rejection by simply not ever saying anything or straight out rejection (we’ve met you and we’re not interested). No, maybe the worst is, “Thanks, but you’re over qualified”. Umm… but my bills aren’t. Meh.

Sorry to be so “dark”, but I hate job hunting. It makes me grumpy. So does crashing into a MARTA bus, as the bus I’m currently riding on nearly did. I also don’t like when recipes don’t turn out. Ok, it isn’t so much that the recipe didn’t turn out as the meat I purchased was really gristly. The recipe actually worked rather well (and is ridiculously simple). There were even a few boys who came poking their noses around wondering what the wonderful smell was. So, it smelled good and tasted good… the meat was just gristly. So, here is a wonderful recipe for super simple pot roast try not to use gristly meat. I’m giving you this recipe per roast… it’s just easier that way. Just multiply it by the number of roasts you’re going to make.

Super Simple Pot Roast
Serves 6

3 lbs Boneless Beef Roast (I used chuck roast)
2 packets Onion Soup Mix
¾ cup Water
¾ cup Ketchup

Preheat oven to 275. Mix ketchup, onion soup mix and water together. Place roast in a deep oven proof pan. Pour ketchup mixture over roast and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 3-4 hours or until roast is tender. You can serve the sauce from the bottom of the pan on top of the roast.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Lunch: Corn Dogs, Chips and Carrot Sticks
Dinner: Hamburgers, Corn and Macaroni Salad

Blech… I’m miserably sick right now. I’m not sure if it’s allergies or a really nasty cold. But whatever it is trying to make my face explode and there is a solid layer of snot between me and rational thought. Seriously my head is so stuffed and fuzzy that when people talk to me all I hear is “mwah wah wah wah” like in the Peanuts (you know, when the adults talked…). The cold medicine hasn’t helped either. Pseudophed makes me feel all jittery while the others make me feel languid. Mostly I just want to sleep and eat carrot sticks (I seem to have lost my appetite for anything other than carrot sticks today). Hmm.. fuzzy head, twitchy and likes carrots, I think I’m turning into a rabbit.

It’s a good thing I had already planned easy meals for today. Complexity is really beyond me today. In honor of the summer-like weather we’re having today, I’m serving some very summery dishes. I even thought briefly about making the hamburgers on the grill, but I realized that was a silly idea. I don’t want to stand outside in the nearly 90 degree weather in direct sunlight battling with a cantankerous old grill. So I’m doing the burgers on the griddle, but hey, that’s how most fast food places cook’em. It’s not like I’m making fancy hamburgers or anything, they’re just the cheap frozen hamburger patties… Eh, that means the guys get 2... They’re gourmands… quantity over quality right?

The macaroni salad I’m making is a family favorite. It is as synonymous with summer for my family as swimming pools or sunburns. It is an excellent accompaniment to any sort of grilled item, bbq chicken, hamburgers, ribs.. you name it. Best of all, it’s very simple to make. It only has 6 ingredients, and is best when made ahead of time and refrigerated over night or at least a couple of hours. One word of warning, the recipe calls for Miracle Whip and there can be no substitute. Do not try to use mayonnaise or the store brand of “dressing”, I promise you it will not turn out.

Mom’s Macaroni Salad
Serves 25

4 lbs Macaroni Noodles, cooked, drained and cooled
4 cups Miracle Whip
2 cups White Vinegar
1 cup Sugar
4 cups Cucumber, peeled and chopped
2 med Onions, finely chopped

Mix Miracle Whip, vinegar and sugar with a whisk until smooth. Pour over macaroni noodles and stir. Mix in onion and cucumber and cover. Refrigerate overnight or at least a few hours.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

How to Quit in Greek

Lunch: Cheesy Pigs-in-a-Blanket and Chips
Dinner: Chili and Cornbread
Dessert: Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookies

Happy April Fool’s Day! I like pulling pranks on people. For Christmas one year, we gave my brother a 6 pack of beer. He was really confused until he saw that 2 of the beers were full of money. He wanted to know 2 things: how to get the money out of the bottles and what did I do with all the beer that was in the bottles. I just realized last night that today was April 1st, and was racking my brain to think of some great joke I could play on the boys. I mean, you would think the possibilities would be endless as a chef. I researched food related pranks online and the ones I found were either gross and enough to get me fired (ex-lax in anything is a bad idea) or too time-consuming and too expensive. Making what looks like and entire meal out of nothing but candy seems funny, but do you have any idea how long that would take? Painstakingly hand rolling green beans out of Now and Laters… for 20 people? No thanks. I even called my grandpa, the king of all pranksters, and he couldn’t think of anything on the spot. He did have a funny story about a farting stuffed gorilla. (My grandpa has a thing for monkeys and for fart machines).

I love the French tradition for April fool’s day. The call it poisson d’Avril, or April fish. You take paper fish and tape them to other people’s backs so they don’t notice. Then they go around all day looking like a fool with a paper fish taped to their back. I am extraordinarily good at taping things to people’s backs without them realizing. In high school we went to a French immersion retreat that just happened to fall over April fool’s day weekend. Needless to say our rag tag group of Francophiles fished the heck out of the other schools. Enough so that the other schools present ganged up and tried to get us back. We were wise to their ways… Hee hee hee. It still gives me a chuckle.

Anyway, the question still came down to what to do to the guys… I couldn’t find a remote controlled fart machine like my mom suggested. So I decided to put out a tray of dog kibble complete with a decoration of dog biscuits. As the lunch trays are generally covered, the guys wouldn’t know anything was amiss until they got their plate, filled it with chips and such and then lifted the lid for the main dish…. and it was dog food. I had the real food in the kitchen. The first frat boy down was very astute and started laughing and came into the kitchen wanting to know where I hid the real food. The second guy was clearly not awake (he was still in his bath robe) he opened the lid, stuck the spoon in the kibble, and then set his plate down to go fill his cup with ice. He walked back out and just looked at the dog food. It was about that time that I popped out and said “Happy April Fool’s Day!”. I let him know the real food was in the kitchen. I don’t think he quite got it. Some of the guys were confused (and thereby fooled), but most of the guys caught on pretty quick and thought it was funny. But the best response was from a couple of the guys who thought I was seriously putting out dog food either because I was ticked off and decided to get back at them or that I was fed up with all the crap they’d given me and quit in grand fashion by feeding them dog food. Seriously? Who would quit that way? Well, at least I know in the future that a tray of dog food equals two week’s notice in Greek (get it?).