Zucchini Fritters and Puppies

Wow.  Has it been 2 months since I’ve been on this thing? Seriously, where does the time go?  Somehow I’ve missed the whole month of August.  We’ve made it through summer school, the 2015 soccer season and camp. We had a death of a puppy, then we acquired 2 more puppies. Now it’s already autumn.  And who doesn’t love Autumn?

I’ve never had puppies. Ever. Dogs really aren’t my thing. But the kids were super sad about the passing of Tinkerbell. We went to the pound and we looked. We found a little one named Diva. I wasn’t opposed to Diva, but she was adopted before we got the chance to. For the record, the idea of brand new, fresh out-of-the-womb-puppies wasn’t even run by me. These puppies that we have are little, and not trained. They are like babies. They whine, and cry and shit every where. The kids will take care of them he said. The kids. The same ones who simply can’t put their dishes in the dishwasher are going to train and take care of the puppies? Diva was trained, just saying.  These puppies, albeit very cute, are a pain in the ass. I’m going to leave it at that.

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Kids are back at school! Who else is doing a little dance? I love the start of school.  It’s like New Year’s Day. Everything is fresh and new.  This year we have a senior, a junior and a 5th grader. Already Ms. Autumn in the 5th grade, with the attitude of the senior. Seems like yesterday she was just starting kindergarten.  Who am I kidding?  It seems like she was just a baby! The school gives the 5th graders an iPad this year.  Who on this planet thinks it’s a good idea to give her an iPad? She’s cute, and smart; but she is as clumsy as clumsy can get. Why?  Why do they do this? And yes, I took out the insurance. And yes, I’ve already started saving for the deductible.

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It’s fall.  I’m so excited for football, and Halloween, and falling leaves and crisp mornings. Don’t forget pumpkin. Pumpkin every-freaking-thing. But I’m not quite done with summer.  A co-worker of mine put this recipe in my inbox.  I think I’ve made it a half dozen times since. I added corn once to it even.  It’s a nice light, fresh side dish. So delicious!  And I know you still have a zucchini or two lying around.

Zucchini Fritters

  • 1 1/2 lbs   Zucchini, grated
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 C All purpose flour
  • 1/4 C Parmesan, grated
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Large Egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Place grated zucchini in a colander over the sink. Add salt and gently toss to combine; let sit for at least 10 minutes.  Using a clean dish towel or cheese cloth; drain completely. I mean, really make sure it’s dried completely.
  2. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, flour, Parmesan, garlic, and egg; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Scoop tablespoons of batter for each fritter, flattening with a spatula.  Cook until the underside is nicely golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side, 1-2 minutes longer.
  4. Serve immediately

zucchinifritters

 

 

Easy! This week… easy is needed!

I have exactly 20 minutes to get my post up! I’m on a time schedule. I’m trying to stay on a planned schedule, but it’s not going so well this week.   Everything was planned, the gym, blog posts, the menu.  Then the ol’ man’s mom had to have unexpected open heart surgery yesterday. Poor thing ended up with a quadruple bypass. She’s off the ventilator and awake; which is fantastical for just 24 hours after surgery. Ironically, 16 years ago today, my dad died, essentially after the same surgery. It kinda sucked being in the same hospital, the same unit, the same everything.  The good thing, if there is a good thing, is that I was able to give the ol’ man some insight as to what will happen. Like when we saw her right after surgery, she had a little bit of color.  I thought she looked good! You know, good for someone who just had their chest cracked open. My dad looked gray and dead.  The smart ass he is, said “We are Italian, of course she has color!”  Point made lol.

Needless to say, I needed easy this week.  Nothing easier than the slow cooker, and since I neglected slow cooker Sunday for you, I’m giving it to you now. Easter is coming, and you undoubtedly will have leftover ham. This Pillsbury recipe is perfect!  As always, I changed it a little. On the kid scale, 2 out of 3 liked it.  I will give you a penny if you can figure out which one didn’t like it!

Cheesy Ham Au Gratin

  • 3C Milk
  • 1 Can condensed Cheddar cheese soup (10 3/4oz can)
  • 2- 5 oz pkgs cheesy scalloped potatoes, with skin on potatoes (I didn’t used the skin on)
  • 2 C Cooked diced ham
  • 2 Cans Whole kernel corn, with Red and green peppers, drained (I used a frozen bag of corn and peppers)
  • 2 C boiling water
  • Cheddar cheese (optional)
  1. Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine milk, soup, and contents of seasoning packets from potatoes; blend well.  Add potatoes, ham and corn; mix well.  Pour mixture into sprayed slow cooker.  Pour boiling water over potato mixture; stir to mix.
  2. Cover; cook on low setting for 7 to 8 hours.
  3. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

hamaugratin

Slow Cooker Sunday!-Beef Barley Soup

Holiday season is over. Valentine’s is over. Football is over……Wake me up in April. Seriously, I’ve added enough insulation to get me through until then.  Wait!!!  Fat Tuesday is coming.  Let me add another layer of gumbo and hurricanes.  Then hibernation begins!!  If I could I totally would. I’m kidding of course. Sort of.

How was everyone’s Valentine’s day?  I spent the day with the kids. I made pink pancakes for breakfast.  The ol’ man went to a movie with a friend who lost his wife a few years ago. We’ll hit the movies next weekend, when they aren’t so crowded; and you know how I feel about restaurants on Valentine’s.  I made mini chicken and waffles for all of us.  Doesn’t that scream romance!  I made something without vegetables in it.  The kids think that’s love. Win for Mom!

Mini Chicken and waffles!  No real recipe here.  I mean, you totally could make homemade waffles, and bread the chicken yourself.  I make this when we are running from work to soccer to the grocery store, ‘Oh shit it’s 7:30pm already’ what am I going to make for dinner?  Eggo mini waffles, and chicken strips.  Bake the chicken strips according to the directions on the package, pop the mini waffles in the toaster. I cut the strips in half, make a little sandwich, spear with a tooth pick to hold them together, drizzle with maple syrup.

minichickwaf

 

So parenting challenge #14,864?  The 16yo wants to read 50 Shades of Grey. Some of you are thinking, where’s the parenting challenge? The answer is no. She’s 16, are you out of your mind? The ol’ man did say no.  But I’m not entirely against it.  I know I’m not going to make a lot of friends with my opinion of 50 Shades, so I’m going to just touch on it a little. She has friends who have read it.  She reads books from the “romance” section already. I mean she is 16,  I’ve played Cards Against Humanity with her, so I know not a whole lot in the series is going to be shocking to her. Ok, so there may be a little shock. I’m impressed that she even asked at all.  Easily, she could have purchased it to her tablet, and we would never know.  She didn’t ask permission to smoke her first cigarette, or do shots of cake batter vodka. Proof that she’s unsure why it’s wrong. I’m not entirely sure I disagree with her. I lived that lifestyle for a few years before I met the ol’ man, who is very vanilla. So I feel like if she reads it, we know she’s reading it, when she has questions she can ask, and we {I} can answer them. Real answers. If she reads it behind our back, she will ask her friends questions and goodness knows what the hell they will answer with. Part of me feels like 50 Shades is romanticizing S&M; just like Pretty Woman did for prostitution.  The reality of the lifestyles just isn’t as black and white has Hollywood and fiction makes it out to be. Probably one of the best things about fiction. Bottom line, I told her if I got written permission from her mom that it’s alright for her to read them, then she can borrow the books. She can duke it out with her father.

On to things that will get me in less trouble! Slow Cooker Sunday!  Today, in our -25°F, snowy weather, nothing sounds better than Beef and Barley Soup!  Straight from Betty Crocker 🙂 The kids liked it, although 2 of the 3 thought there was too many vegetables, and not enough beef.  Damn carnivores!

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup

  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 C)
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 lbs Beef boneless chuck, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Pepper
  • 2 Medium carrots, cut lengthwise in half, then cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 C Pearl barley, uncooked
  • 8 C Beef broth
  • 1.5 C frozen sweet peas
  • 1 C frozen corn
  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, beef, salt and pepper in oil until beef is brown, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Spoon beef mixture into 6-quart slow cooker.  Stir in carrots, barley and broth.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 hours.
  4. Increase heat to high. Stir in frozen peas and corn. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes or until peas and corn are hot.

beefbarleysoup

 

 

 

A side of this..a side of that..

Just kidding..you only get a side of this!  Tomorrow maybe a side of that!  Maybe. Maybe a Thanksgiving cocktail? A dessert?  A dessert cocktail? I have no plans yet!  Things have been little stressful here in our super wonderful, blended, seriously complicated, sort of family. The 16 yo is completely out of control, so I’m taking things day by day.  I’m trying to figure how much therapy we can get for a family rate. Because I’m thiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to losing it!

On to fun things to talk about!  Thanksgiving!! At least here in these parts of the world, this Thursday is Thanksgiving.  There is much to be thankful for in my life, wonderful family, great friends. Of course, the reason I live, Ms. Autumn, sooo thankful for her.  And ya know, thankful for what everyone else is thankful for. The things that we tend to take for granted every day; our job, health, home, my patience. You never realize how much you have until you don’t have it anymore (for example: my patience). And my mama!  This time of year, I so miss my mom more than any other.

Lets be honest here, we are all thankful.  But we look forward to the great food!  Every year I go to my sister Karen’s.  She makes the best damn feast! I love love love her stuffing and broccoli casserole. So divine! I don’t even need the turkey and ham. I could just eat the side dishes and desserts and call it a day. This year, my brother is bringing his new, old girlfriend. She’s making homemade cranberry sauce.  I’m looking forward to that!  I don’t normally like cranberry sauce, because it comes from a can, and to me, it tastes like the can. Blah!  I only have so much space and calories to play with, and I’m not wasting it on food that taste like shit.

My contribution to the family table of deliciousness?  Baked Corn Pudding.  I’m going to be honest, I have no idea where this recipe came from. Judging by the paper, a book of some sort?  I’ve been making it for years. It’s probably one of the only recipes that I follow exactly without altering it. Ok, sometimes I don’t add the parsley. This is not in any way a low fat side dish. Although it does have 10g of protein! Does that make it healthy? Mmmmmm probably not.  It does make 16 servings, but easily could be cut in half.

Baked Corn Pudding

  • 1/2 C             Butter or margarine
  • 1 small         Onion chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 C             All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp          Salt
  • 1/2 tsp          Pepper
  • 4 C                 Milk
  • 6                    Eggs (slightly beaten)
  • 2 C                Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 bags          Frozen corn (12 oz bags, thawed and drained)
  • 2 Tbsp          Parsley flakes or 1/2 C fresh parsley
  • 3/4 C            Italian style bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp          Butter, melted
  1. Heat oven to 350*F.  Spray 13″x 9″ glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In 4-quart Dutch oven, melt 1/2 C butter over medium heat.  Add onion, cook until tender, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until well blended.  Stir in milk.  Cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Gradually stir in eggs and cheese.  Stir in corn and parsley.
  4. Pour into baking dish.
  5. In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs and 3 tablespoons melted butter; sprinkle over corn mixture.
  6. Bake uncovered 55-60 minutes or until mixture is set and knife inserted comes out clean. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

 

cornpudding

“You’ve crushed my dreams!”

Apparently, this morning Autumn told me she wanted to butter her bagel.  I did not hear any such words.  So, I toast and butter the bagel.  “Mom, you’ve crushed my dreams!”  My only response?  “It won’t be the last time.”

Yesterday was National Hot Dog Day!  Who knew?  Who cares! (Well, Zweigles probably does..) Now when it’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, I will care.  Well, I don’t want to be neglectful of this national celebration, and without a dinner plan, I purchase hot dogs. And buns.  Not items on my grocery list, umm.. usually ever.   When I get home, I mention to the ol’ man that it’s National Hot Dog Day.  Ladies, you know where this is going…  He says “I got your hot dog right here!” .  With an eye roll and a stare of annoyance, “Too bad I only eat hamburgers.”

Speaking of steamy debauchery, who has seen the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer?  Trash, I tell you!  And I can’t wait to see it and it better be rated NC17!  It would have to be if it were anything like the books.  Of course, the movie will lack against the books, but I still can’t wait.  It definitely portrays an interesting view of the S&M lifestyle.  There are a lot of different sides to the lifestyle. Mostly good.  Perception is often different than reality.   😉

Squirrel…Back to hot dogs.  Gross in my opinion.  But made I them for the rascals anyway.  With these delicious little cheesy corn bites from Hungry Girl. They were delicious, with my hamburger.  I’m sure they were just as delicious with their hot dogs. Super easy.  The kids loved them.  I thought they were tasty. And only 46 calories each!!

Creamed Corn-Cheese Bites

  • 1Tbsp        Flour
  • 1/2 pkg     Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Dough Sheets (I used reduced fat crescent rolls and just rolled the triangles together)
  • 1/2C           Canned cream-style corn
  • 1/4C          Reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F
  2. Sprinkle flour on a dry surface, and dust the rolling pin with a little too
  3. Roll dough out, cut dough into 12 squares.  Gently press each square into a mini muffin cup, leaving corners of dough extended over edge of each cup.
  4. Spoon corn evenly into dough lined cups. Top each with cheese.  Fold the dough edges down, so they cover  the top.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden brown and filling is set.
  6. Let stand for 5 minutes.  Pretty important, because they are friggin’ hot.

cornpockets

And of course, with Hot Dogs…

National Hot Dog Day

Cocktails..next post. Ha!  Cocktails…Hot Dogs..50 Shades…No pun intended.  Well maybe a little intended. Well, not little…Got. To. Stop.