Same warped sense of humor, unsolicited advice and crazy good recipes…just a new place to post them…for now!
Enjoy and thanks for reading.
Peas & Carrots,
Sam is three.
Incidentally, she is also a wise little creature. I’m considering assisting with her job application to write fortunes for fortune cookie companies. (Best job ever.)
“If you wun ovah a duck mom and her ducklings, it’s verrrry bad luck!”
*Written phonetically and with full access to writer’s license.
There aren’t many recipes that my favorite (and only) sister can claim to have taught me. Growing up, her specialties were 2 lb microwave brownies and a concoction of carrots, tofu and Italian dressing in a food processor. Yes, she is older. Two crows feet older to be exact. I still want to be her when I grow up. She snagged the good looks and big boobs out of the gene pool. I got the culinary skills and hammer toes.
Clearly I got robbed.
Yet this meal I owe all to her. She introduced this gem to SuperHub and I on a trip to Texas a few years ago. She had discovered it in an issue of Real Simple and was eager to share.
Ladies and the sparse gentleman who happened to read this far, I present to you, the tastiest meal on the planet.
Bonus: It’s EASY.
To be honest, when she first described this slow cooker dish, it didn’t put a giddy in my hitch. Yet, when I walked into her house and smelled the spicy aroma that hung heavy on the air, I was sold.
This is the sort of dish that you make for people you want to impress. Or just because it’s Tuesday and you have everything on hand and it sounds good.
Not only is it beautiful, it’s a perfect medley of flavors that compliment one another and surprise you with each bite.
Go on, make it. You can thank my sister too.
What you need:
2 or 3 Sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Red onion, chopped
1 – 28 oz Can of tomatoes (diced, chopped or whole…You choose!) with juice
1.5 – 2 lbs. Lean sirloin or roast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 Cup dried apricots, halved
2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Pinch of salt
1 – 15 oz. Can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 (or more!) Handfuls of fresh spinach
1 or 2 boxes of Near East Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil Couscous
Combine the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beef, onion, apricots and spices well. Pour into a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. One hour before serving, add the spinach and chick peas. Prepare the couscous according to the packaged directions and serve as a base to the dish.
Me: “Love love love. I don’t normally enjoy the food I make this much after preparing it but WOW. This is one of my favorite foods.”
SuperHub: “It’s good. I could do without the sweet potatoes.”
Kids: “Can I have another yogurt?”
Friend: “This is the best Katy Brown dish I’ve EVER had. It’s WONDERFUL. I need just one more bowl. Just in case. Just to test it to make sure it really is that good.”
I am (now) the mother of an 8 year old boy.
It seems like yesterday our first baby was cuddled up in my arms, full of wonder and possibility. Now he is a sarcastic, funny, loving little human being. Emphasis on sarcastic.
One of his favorite birthday gifts this year was the Apples to Apples Dice Game. It’s perfect for a second grader. You have to know the difference between a noun and an adjective. Psssst…There are cheat sheets.
The game in a nutshell: One person is the judge, you must have at least two other players. Judge rolls a die and gets a letter. Judge picks an adjective that begins with that letter. There is a cheat sheet if your kiddo needs inspiration. Then Judge rolls two other letter dice. As soon as the players think of a word, that is best described by the adjective picked by Judge, they grab a die. After everyone has shared their words, Judge picks who wins.
How my son and Superhub play the game: If Judge has a penis and you have a penis, you win.
The three of us played on Saturday for a few rounds before I threw in the towel.
Cooper was Judge (again) and rolled the die.
Cooper: “U! Um, unpredictable.” *Rolls letter dice, T & L
Me: “HA! T! Thunderstorms. Thunderstorms are unpredictable.”
SuperHub: “L. Ladies. Ladies are unpredictable.”
Cooper: “While both are unpredictable, I am going to go with ladies. Ladies are very unpredictable because you never know what they are thinking! Dad gets a coin!”
This being the fourth round that I had lost, WITH PERFECTLY WONDERFUL WORDS, I declined another round.
As I stomped off walked away, I sang my favorite protest song ever.
“Hey hey, ho ho, this Penis Party’s got to go!” Watch it here: PCU Picket
Sometimes it’s acceptable to have a cupcake for breakfast. And then lunch too.
No judging people.
Related: I have a tiny little Daisy Scout shacking up under my roof. She is cute, bubbly and selling cases of cookies. Including Thin Mints.
Also related: Things around my house have been a wee bit hectic since the start of the new year. Cleary. I have been asbent. My apologies. I’ve missed you all.
As my bestie would tell you, it’s clear that life is returning to a healthy balance around these parts. I am cooking and baking again. That is what I do when life is normal(ish). I feed the world.
And today I am feeding the world (and myself) Thin Minty Cupcakes.
These little bundles of wonderfulness came to be because A) I have too many Thin Mint cookies within a 6 foot vicinity of my kitchen B) I am hormonal and C) Someone special deserved cupcakes today.
After researching chocolate mint cupcake recipes for longer than I care to publicly admit, I settled on three different components. The batter recipe is basic enough that I had everything in my pantry. A Thin Mint truffle center and a Dark Cocoa Mint Buttercream. Dooood. Done.
Finger lickin’ DONE.
You will need:
A Girl Scout to sell you cookies
1 1/2 Cup Flour
3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 Cups White Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk (I added 1 T white vinegar to 3/4 Cup milk, let stand for 5 minutes)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Thin Mint cookies for the bottoms of the cupcakes and to garnish
Thin Mint Truffles
25 Thin Mint cookies, crushed (I used a Ziploc bag and a rolling pin)
1 package 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese, softened
Dark Chocolate Mint Buttercream
1 Cup Butter, room temperature
1/2 Cup Crisco
Dark Cocoa Powder, to taste
Vanilla, to taste
Evaporated milk, 1-4 Tablespoons until desired consistency is reached
Mint extract, to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees.
Place your cupcake tins into your pans and put one Thin Mint cookie into each tin. Eat two cookies for good measure.
Mix softened cream cheese and crushed Thin Mints in a small bowl, using a hand mixer. Roll into 1/2 balls. Resist the urge to eat the balls. Place on a plate and refrigerate until ready to use.
Mix your dry ingredients, whisk well and set aside. Add the eggs, buttermilk, oil, water and mint extract. Beat, on low speed, for 1-2 minutes until batter is no longer lumpy.
Pour a bit of batter over each cookie, then place a cream cheese truffle in the center of each tin. Continue pouring batter over the truffle until the tins are 2/3 full.
Bake for 20-22 minutes until the top of your cupcakes spring back when touched.
Remove from the cupcake pan immediately and allow to completely cool.
To make the frosting: Mix the softened butter and Crisco with a mixer until well blended. Slowly add the dark cocoa, powdered sugar and evaporated milk, alternating until you reach the desired constancy. Add the mint extract and a hint of vanilla. Beat one more time to combine well.
Spoon the frosting into a pastry bag or Ziploc bag and snip the corner. Frost each cupcake and then top with a piece of Thin Mint cookie to garnish.
Dive head first into the cupcake.
Me: Nom nom nom. Milk please. Gulp. Ahhhhhhhhh. The crunch mint base is the perfect finish. And oh the creamy center with a hint of crunch.
SuperHub: Wow. That’s good. And I am not a huge mint fan. But that was good. Can I have another?
Sam: I don’t like the frosting. Can you scrape it off? I like this Mommy!
Happy new year!
The start of the new year is like a blank notebook, a fresh workout routine or a stiff pair of black yoga pants. Anything is possible.
And then comes February. And Girl Scout Cookies.
Unrelated: By far, my most popular recipe has been Brown Sugar Chicken.
It’s super easy, crazy tasty and kids will actually eat dinner when it is served. Without complaints. Seriously.
While in a pinch, I happened on an improvement that has made this delectable dish, even more delicious. Yes, it is possible. I will bet you my 6th pair of black yoga pants that you will agree.
Instead of using Sprite or 7-up in the recipe, I used Mountain Dew. Once I used diet. Once I used throwback. (And I don’t even like Mountain Dew.)
You won’t regret it. That box of Thin Mints on the other hand…
T-H-I-S I-S A-N A-M-A-Z-I-N-G G-I-F-T T-O G-I-V-E!
I was lucky enough to stumble upon this Iowa artist, SquareWear, at a holiday market and instantly fell under the spell of Crystal’s custom creations.
The next day I emailed her family photos of my own, had her create a custom stretch bracelet out of my parents’ last name in Scrabble™ tiles and within one week, I was holding my favorite gift of the season.
My mom is the recipient of this beauty. A bracelet filled with precious moments.
The best part, it cost me just around $30.
Ready. Set. GO!
There are moments in life when one should just stop talking.
When you’re a kid, taking off your britches and putting them back on, inside out, equals clean britches. (Until Mom catches you.)
Walking the grocery cart back into the store, guarantees you five miles of good karma. Ten miles if you do it while no one is looking.
If you have to buy personal items (lubricant, hemorrhoid cream, ultra super deluxe tampons) you can bet your pretty little face that a guy, who you had a crush on your sophomore year of high school, is going to walk up and stand in line behind you at the cash register. Chances are also good that the item won’t scan and the checker will have to type in the 45 digit key code. Insert uncomfortable pause here.
House elves make the holiday season bearable. So does too much wine, chocolate covered salty things and bribery.
Lavender scented dish soap makes domestic duties more enjoyable. So does lavender scented counter top spray, candles and dryer sheets.
Brown leggings do not go with everything. Or anything.
More than two of your neighbor’s homemade bran muffins, with your morning cuppa coffay, will render you useless for the better part of the early afternoon.
Pssst…Young snobby people. Be kind. Someday that will you YOU who goes out for a drink with your girlfriends, then leaves in a minivan, after showing all your friends how you tucked your Spanx into your underpants. And you will feel like you’ve accomplished something. Because you have! Dammit.