Rosemary’s Potatoes (see what I did there?)

Good morning from stormy Louisiana!  I am feeling pretty good today because I do love myself a good thunderstorm, in spite of a trauma I suffered earlier…I headed out into the downpour, opting not to wear my Gorton’s fish stick guy rain slicker (mistake), to feed the chickens today and all was right with my little world.  I love the rain on my face and in my hair, the scent of clean earth and the way the greenery changes color when lightening shoots across the sky during these storms.  The raincoat feels like it blocks too many senses with which to enjoy these things sometimes…if that makes sense.

I guess I need to stop here and tell you a secret.  Like all nerds before me, I believe I have something of a super power.  No, I am not delusional, but I really do have the ability to walk through a spider web where none are expected or have been before.  If ever you are blazing a trail and need that person to lead the way solely for the purpose of spider web discovery, I’m your “man.”  Indiana Jones would have loved me!   I’m not bragging here, just stating fact.  The down side is that I loathe spiders and, as tough as I think I am, those little eight-legged monsters can turn me from bad a$$ pioneer woman into a break dancing, freaking little girl in an instant, making the people in this video look like gladiators (sorry for a little language in the video).

Anyway, as I walked out to the coop today, enjoying the weather, my shins suddenly felt resistance and I was sent sprawling into the mud.  As I fell forward, time seemed to slow to a crawl and thoughts swirled through my head: I thanked God that my face had not made contact with this web, I was also grateful for soft, muddy ground on which to land and not the concrete I’d just stepped off of, and OMG!  What kind of mutant creature makes a web so strong that it can knock me off of my feet!?!  

I gave zero thought to who might be watching this spectacle as I sprang to my feet, using my best karate, break dancing and gymnastics moves to beat the crap out of myself, assuring that I had not picked up a hitchhiker.  It was exactly like this, but add mud and rain into the mix and subtract flaming shoes.  Skip to 54 seconds if you don’t want to hear most of the bad language and hit the restroom first so you don’t wet your pants laughing (Note if you skip ahead; he had spilled gas on his shoes)

This strange dance lasted for what felt like hours, but likely was only seconds, until I felt I was spider free and that I might survive this horror.  I was actually out of breath and thought a coronary might be what was for breakfast today when I stumbled back into the house.

My children immediately ran to my side, certain I was in real trouble, but I assured them that I would recover…in time.  Yes, I was muddy and out of breath, but no, I had not been wrestling a prowler or bear at the chicken coop.  My neighbors likely think that I am plagued by an aggressive ghost, am a martial arts champion, or I’m just plain crazy, but they’ve seen this display many times, so I’m not going to sweat it.

What does this have to do with rosemary potatoes?  Not a frickin’ thing, but I had to get that off of my chest.  Talking it through promotes healing.

Any-hoo, these are a nice, quick treat and a delicious side when you don’t have an hour to roast them in the oven.  Enjoy.

Rosemary Skillet Potatoes

Prep time: 5-10 minutes       Cook time: 15-20 minutes       Serves: 4ish
Ingredients
  • 1 & 1/2 pounds red or white potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, cut in lengthwise quarters and then 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 2 TBSP dried (or fresh) rosemary (I grind my dried rosemary in the food processor or with a mortal and pestle to avoid eating twigs)
  • 1-2 TBSP butter, if needed
Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat and then add the potatoes, stirring to coat them with the oil.  Add all but the butter and stir/toss to coat the potatoes.
  2. Cook, stirring often, for about 15-20 minutes, adding butter, if needed to prevent sticking, evenly coat the potatoes with the seasonings and promote a nice crust on the potatoes.  Potatoes are finished when they are crusty on the outside and perfect on the inside.
  3. Serve alone or drizzle with your favorite sauce or condiment.  A nice compliment to almost any meat main dish.
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Paired with yesterday’s Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Super(man) Smörgåsbord

Well, I am just about recovered from my two weeks playing hostess.  Meaning, I am trying to remember how to do things like drive a car, cook and clean, since my company let me do none of these things.  To get back into the groove, last night I had the BEST recipe to prepare for you all and was ready to blow your socks off!  Sadly, I realized at 4 pm, that the recipe started off in a 6 hour slow cooker.  So, be ready, because tomorrow is when I will actually blow your socks off.

What are we to do in a situation like this; when the oven quits or we just simply blow it?  Quick Hamburger or Tuna Helper?  Grilled cheese sandwiches?  No.  The last minute meal of choice around here is the Super Smörgåsbord.  Bringing family, young and old, running into the dining room with joy in their hearts and smiles on their faces for many years, this is the ultimate way to clean out your fridge.  I mean, the ultimate way to satisfy any palate.

Super(man) Smörgåsbord

Ingredients
  • Whatever you want
Directions
  1. Shake off the initial panic from the broken oven, meat you forgot to defrost, lack of ingredients, etc. and take a deep breath.
  2. Open the cheese, meat and vegetable drawers and pull out armloads of your favorite things; cheese, pepperoni, celery, those tomatoes living on borrowed time, etc. and pile it onto plates.
  3. You can also throw together last month’s quick and easy last minute pizza crust and create an assortment of pizzas.
  4. Serve with crackers and milk, juice or wine in fancy glasses to remind people it’s about being a free spirit and not about lack of preparation or panic.

Note: don’t serve the children wine in the fancy glasses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisiana Magic

For the last two weeks we have had almost constant company and my allergies have been kicked into high gear.  Before you pity me, know that I love entertaining.  Having company gives me a chance to get to know people better, share my home and family, reconnect with old friends and enjoy the place I live.  Having allergies and pollen blizzards aren’t as fun

Anyway, our friend Frank left today after a nice, quiet visit.  We did all the touristy things we could and ate like kings.  My favorite part was driving all over Acadiana with the windows down while singing along to great music on the radio.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather or more laughs.

One of Frank’s favorite things when he comes here is to have Sunday brunch at the Blue Dog Cafe.  For about $25 a head you get the unlimited buffet of your dreams, free mimosas, live music and a satisfied, full belly.  The restaurant is born from the art of George Rodrigue, made famous by his Blue Dog series of paintings, and the food is unique fusion.  A little Cajun and…I don’t know.  Whether you are a fan of his work or not, the food and atmosphere won’t disappoint.  Oh, and have the Louisiana Purchase!

Naturally, we saw some of my favorite Louisiana natives.

I know you have guessed that I am a bird nerd, so here are a few shots I took over the last week.

We were able to head to Cypermort Point and saw a giant, but camera shy, hog, watched the sea grass sway in the breeze and we inhaled the clean sea air.

Frank was tempted, but opted to buy the shrimp and go with a flat top cut instead.

Cypermore

The trees are all so amazing in the basin and our greenery so diverse in beauty.

We watched the worst movie ever and relaxed by the pool a lot.  We went to dinner at the Sizzling Monkey and the Parks Cracklin Festival, but otherwise gave into our age and retired by 9pm most nights without shame.  This allowed me to see the misty sunrise the other day.

I would say I am recharged and ready to get back onto my blogging horse.  I am so blessed in family and friendship and glad to be reminded that, even though nothing will replace my Rocky Mountains, I live in a beautiful place.

 

 

 

Living Large in Louisiana

Let me apologize for the two day hiatus, but I can’t wait to show you why I went silent…

For the last few days (not nearly enough) my boys and I had the honor of playing host to my friend Jody and her wonderful family.  Seriously, guys, her boys are the kind of young men I hope that I am raising mine to be.  Anyway, like most parents with busy lives, having out of town guests gives us the opportunity to do and see the things in our own back yard that we neglect to otherwise make time for.  It was wonderful.  Here’s the rundown:

 

The first day we had to do a crawfish boil and Jamie knocked it out of the park again!  20160326_183311

The whole visiting gang loved them and took home all required seasoning to have their own boil at home.

Day 2 we headed to the Evangeline Oak in St. Martinville, where Longfellow’s Evangeline waited for her love, and then we were off to the Lake Martin Bird Sanctuary.

Day 3 we took our little boat into the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest swamp in the USA, so the boys could fish and we could take in the beauty of our wildlife here in Louisiana.

We finished up at Gator Cove with a delicious meal and their amazing “pets.”

Day 4 we headed to Avery Island and toured the Tabasco Factory and the Jungle Gardens.  It was beautiful and I finally got to see a river otter up close!  Sadly, he was camera shy and ran across our path so fast, but he was huge and gorgeous!  I am a huge bird nerd, and we have one of the greatest collections on Earth.  Jungle Gardens plays host to many of them.

Last night they cooked us some fantastic brats that her husband, Chad, made himself and they were amazing!  I didn’t get pictures because I was too busy eating.

It was a wonderful visit and I can’t wait to do it again!  It’s good to remember all of the things that Louisiana has to offer and it’s great to be blessed in friendship!  It’s also very refreshing to host kids who love the outdoors and aren’t sneaking off to play video games all of the time.  It was a good thing for my kids to be with other guys who share their outdoor interests and reminded them to hang on to them.

I just can’t say enough about how invigorating a visit theirs was.

Here are a few more pictures of what Louisiana gave us and what my awesome Wisconsin friends brought me…

 

Have a Fantastic Day!

I’m going to be brief today.  If you celebrate the resurrection, reflect on the life we are given and enjoy your loved ones.  If you don’t celebrate the resurrection, enjoy your loved ones and the good things in life.

I am putting my phone down today!  It’s going to be rough, but I can do it.  I need to bask in the warmth of my family and count my blessings.  Plus, you guys aren’t going to be playing in the kitchen today.  It’s all business for a holiday, isn’t it? :-/

Enjoy this amazing day and try not to choke any relatives.  Thank you so much for following me!

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SHN Nominated for the Liebster Award!

3and3quarters.net_.pngI was just nominated for the Liebster Award!  Since I’m so new to the world of blogging, I had to do some research to find out what this meant and it turns out that this is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers to help spread the word about up and coming new blogs.  In German Liebster means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.  I am so blessed and excited to be recognized.

Thank you, Taylor from  Peas Romaine Calm  for the nomination and for your patience with me in getting this post together.  It is very encouraging and a total honor to be recognized by your distinguished peers!  I guess I better bring my A game!  I sure hope I’m doing this right.

The rules of the Award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Copy and paste the Liebster Award badge to your post.
  3. Nominate 10 new bloggers.
  4. Answer the 10 questions the person who nominated you asked you.
  5. Create 10 new questions to ask the bloggers you nominate.
  6. Notify the bloggers you have nominated by leaving them a comment on their blog.

My Nominees:

The answers to the 10 questions I was asked:

  1. How did you pick your blog’s name?  Well, I love learning to build things around the house, organizing, cooking and eating, growing my own food, to laugh and all things nerdy (Comic Con, SciFi, the whole shebang) and I agonized over how to convey my interests.  Since we moved closer to town and I was trying to gain self-sufficiency in the ‘Burbs, the name was born.
  2. Describe yourself in three words.  Fun, resilient and resourceful.
  3. What is your guiltiest pleasure?  Clearly, food.
  4. What single quality do you most appreciate in people?  The ability to speak and understand sarcasm.
  5. What’s your favorite post that you’ve written? (Link, please!)  This is hard…maybe Saturday Crawfish Boil.
  6. Where do you get your inspiration to write?  My life, my kids, my kitchen, this world.
  7. What is your all time favorite type of cake?  I’m going to go with Ho Ho Cake.
  8. Would you still blog if you knew nobody was going to read it?  I do believe I would.
  9. What’s your favourite (non-blog) website?  Sadly, I log a lot of miles on IMDB.com
  10. If any Hollywood star, dead or alive, could play you in a movie of your life, who would it be?  A few years ago I would have said someone like Jayne Seymore, but if I keep eating like this, I’m leaning toward Melissa McCarthy and I’m okay with that.

My 10 Questions to my Nominees:

  1. What made you start your blog?
  2. Who is your greatest inspiration?
  3. What quality do you think your readers most admire in you?
  4. The best post you’ve ever written is…
  5. Do you think you’ll ever retire from blogging?
  6. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
  7. What is something few people know about you?
  8. When is your favorite time of day to write?
  9. Why do you blog?
  10. The song which best describes you and your blog is…

Please tag me in your post after you finish so I can see everyone’s answers!  Thank you to my followers and for nominating me.  I hope I can measure up and bring a little entertainment into your lives!

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“Luke, I am Nacho Pizza”

So, what does the average person do with a terrible cookie icing utensil that has never worked properly?  Throw it away, of course!  What does a nerd mom do with said cookie icer?  Make Darth Vader magic for her kids by filling it with sour cream and decorating a celebratory pizza.

Let me give you a little backstory: for the last several months my oldest son has been dealing with the worst kind of bully.  This kid has called him the foulest sort of names, shoved and hit him, called his sexuality into question before others, called him fat (he’s not), told him that his bio parents only gave him up for adoption because he’s ugly (most certainly not true) and told him he was going to be returned because of said ugliness.  As a parent, this is the worst thing to watch your child suffer through, but he’s at that age where I can no longer rush in to fix it for him.  While I did email a teacher and tell him to secretly keep an eye on the situation and said the same to a couple of other teachers, I didn’t want my son also branded a tattle tale.

My young man is stoic, almost to a fault, however, and greatly downplayed the ongoing situation, so I didn’t know the extent of what was still happening.  His bully was slick and never got caught.  I say “was” because yesterday my young man finally had enough and took care of business, laying this kid out and going from the shy, quiet kid to the school hero in an instant.

We don’t condone violence in our home and never encourage our kids to fight, but we do tell them that, without any other options, you defend yourself. And that’s just what he did.  I couldn’t be prouder, and to celebrate his act of heroism, my fancy-schmancy nacho pizza became all his.

And that is how my normally eye and taste bud pleasing nacho pizza became a little less pretty, but a whole lot cooler.

You can do this several different ways, but I went all from scratch last night.  I made the giant corn tortilla and the meat, but you can substitute store bought tortillas and a taco seasoning packet with your ground beef in a pinch.  I’ll use the store bought corn tortillas here, but will post the homemade tortilla recipe shortly.
This one is so delicious!

Loaded Nacho Pizza

Oven: 450°

Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (to your heat preference)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • corn tortillas, enough to cover the bottom of a pizza pan
  • 1/4-1/2 cup prepared nacho cheese
  • 1-2 cups shredded taco blend or other cheeses
  • Lettuce, tomato, olives, sour cream, etc. for garnish
Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add the onion, jalapeno and garlic.  Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the ground beef.  Brown the gr. beef, then drain.  Add the salsa, chili powder, cumin and cayenne.  Cook and stir for about 5 minutes, then add the black beans.  Reduce heat to medium low, stirring occasionally until the beans are warm, 3-5 minutes.
  2. Grease a 16 in round pizza pan or an 11 X 17 inch cookie sheet and line with tortillas.  Bake in a 450° oven for 5-7 minutes, until tortillas are warm and slightly browning, turning over if necessary.
  3. Remove the tortilla pan from the oven and spread the nacho cheese all over the tortillas, as you would with regular pizza sauce.  Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the pizza and then sprinkle the meat and bean mixture over the cheese (you may only want to use 1/2-1/3 of the meat mixture and save the rest for tomorrow night’s awesome burritos or nachos).
  4. Bake in your 450° oven for 6-8 minutes, or until all the cheese is melted.
  5. Remove from oven and top with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, etc.
  6. Serve with forks and enjoy! Nacho Pizza.jpg