Friday, April 27, 2012

Food Friday and a Bonus

This week for Food Friday, I bring you a recipe AND a special bonus.  It's because I love you.  You're the wind beneath my wings, really. 

First up, the recipe.  We tried a couple new blogworthy recipes this week, I'm gonna save the other for another post but this one was so good and so simple.  Not so much on the healthy and light part but oh well, you only live once might as well eat sausage. 

I originally saw this recipe on The Girl Who Ate Everything's blog .  I've told you about her before, she's the one who brought us CAKE BATTER BALLS so I trust her implicitly.  It looked simple and scrumptious and she said it was man pleasing and since 60% of my household is male those kind of statements are important to me. 

I modified the recipe a little bit based on what I had on hand and I think I like it better my way, I mean Italian sausage beats ground beef hands down any day of the week right?   Also, I always get bonus points with GI Joe if I use sausage instead of hamburger in anything ex:  chili, spaghetti sauce, you name it.  Given my recent track record of being a high maintenance wife I need all the bonus points I can get. 

Here's my modified recipe:
Zesty Italian Crescent Casserole
1 lb Italian sausage (ours was homegrown if you know what I'm sayin')
! T. (more or less to taste) dried onion or onion powder
1 c. spaghetti sauce (I used Prego Heart Smart Ricotta Parmesan)
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella, let's be honest I probably used closer to 2 cups
1/2 c. sour cream or cottage cheese (I happened to be out of sour cream which is what the recipe calls for so I improvised and used cottage cheese, it worked just fine)
1 can crescent rolls (pressed together)
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. melted butter
sprinkle of Italian seasoning and/or garlic powder (optional but that's what I did)

Heat oven to 375°F. In large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Stir in sauce; cook until thoroughly heated. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine mozzarella cheese and sour cream; mix well.Pour hot beef mixture into ungreased 9 1/2 or 10-inch glass deep-dish pie pan or 11x7-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish. Spoon cheese mixture over beef mixture. Lay crescent rolls on top overlapping and pressing together until you've created a layer of crescent roll dough, it may not look pretty but that's ok it'll still taste good. In small bowl, mix Parmesan cheese and butter, italian seasoning and garlic powder. Spread evenly over dough.Bake at 375°F. for 18 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown.

It was like a cross between a pizza and spaghetti and garlic bread.  In other words, it was awesome.  We loved it except for Ryder who didn't really even try it because he was too busy begging me to buy Hamburger Helper Chili Mac instead of making "this kind of gross stuff" all the time.  Excuse me, Hamburger Helper Chili Mac?  Oh you mean the nightmare of my childhood?  The reason I went to bed hungry so many nights as a kid because no matter how much my dad liked it I could NOT, would NOT eat that nasty stuff?  Barf.  Oh yeah Chili Mac is SO much better than this casserole...NOT.  He's out of his mind. 

Now for the added bonus.  My friend Sara posted a video on my facebook wall the other day with a note that said this is so perfect for you.  She knows me well, which is funny considering we've never actually met face to face. We're friends through the world of facebook and blogging and oh yeah, she's married to a boy I used to be in youth group with.  A boy who I had such a crush on when I was an 8th grader/freshman.  He was 4 years older,  cute, super smart, funny and had great pecs and abs.  Hey, I'm just keepin' it real here, I bet any girl that was in the youth group at that time remembers the same thing about him, after all we did spend hours noticing.  ;) Thank goodness our church didn't enforce the full shorts and tshirts over bathing suits rule when there was coed swimming, I don't know what we would've had to talk about if not for his physique.  While it wasn't meant to be for BM and I, he did marry a delighful girl.   A girl, who one of these days I'm going to meet face to face and we're going to eat copious amounts of Mi Ranchito's together while solving the world's problems.  (Well, maybe not now that I've made wildly inappropriate comments about her (now) husband on my blog..) But until then we'll continue to converse on facebook.  Here's the video that Sarah sent me and she was right it IS perfection.  ENJOY! 


I love everything about this video and NEED that pink tractor in my life ASAP. Thanks Sarah and I promise I've moved past my crush on your husband. 

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Just yesterday I was thinking to myself, “what am I gonna blog about this week? There hasn’t really been anything more out of the ordinary than usually, nothing quite blog worthy.”

And then I ran out of gas.


I had to take Dakota to piano lessons and then from there we went directly to VM to see my niece Chloe play softball. The softball fields that are directly behind Casey’s, the gas station in our little town. But I was in a hurry because we were already late to the game and I didn’t want to miss any more of it, after all it was Chloe’s first game of the season and I’m always trying to further secure my standing as Aunt of the Year.

Besides you just don’t want to miss this kind of cuteness in a softball uniform.

Or this cuteness who was also there cheering on her big sister and eating rocks and grass.

As we were driving from piano to the softball game the gas light came on along with that little message that shows up on my dashboard that says “Fuel Level Low.” I wish it would be more specific as in HOW low is the fuel level? Do I have 20 miles left? 10 miles? Or am I running on fumes right now? I used to drive a Ford Explorer that would say “Fuel Level EMPTY..GET FUEL NOW”. That’s the kind of specifics I need. And yes, I did see that message on my Explorer a few times…as I was rolling into the gas station. What can I say? I hate getting gas. It’s one of the reasons I got married. Also, slight clarification, the gas light *may* have been on prior to when I noticed it…may have.

So we drove right past Casey’s to go to the softball game. GI Joe and the boys met us there and we had a grand old time watching Chloe play softball, cheering obnoxiously (that might’ve been just me), taking a ridiculous amount of pictures (oh oops, just me again) and visiting with the rest of the family that was there. The game ended, I took a few more pictures and then we started to head home. I pulled out first and GI Joe was right behind me. We went back past Casey’s and about half a block to the stop sign. I stopped at the stop sign like any good law abiding citizen would do, after all I’m nothing if not a law abiding citizen. After I stopped for the appropriate amount of time, no rolling stops for me, no sirree, I pressed on the gas to go and the Princess Mobile sputtered and died. Just died.

I did what I always do in situations like these, called GI Joe. Not really sure why I called him since he was right behind me and it’s not like this is a booming metropolis where I would be risking life and limb to get out of my vehicle to walk to his, but that’s what I did. I told him my car died which I’m guessing he had already figured out since we weren’t, you know, moving. He hopped out of his truck and got in mine and tried to start it. Nothing. I was sure my starter (that’s a thing right?) had gone out or some other major mechanical malfunction and told him as much. I’ve watched nearly every episode of “Pimp My Ride” so I’m obviously a mechanical expert. That’s when he noticed that annoying orange light and the dinging sound and the message on my dash that said “Fuel Level Low”. Which obviously was a lie because all indications pointed to “Fuel Level ZERO”. GI Joe turned to me, slightly exasperated and said, “You’re out of gas.”

Oh whoops.

“See that little store back there with the GAS PUMPS in front? You know, the one you DROVE PAST…TWICE?!? Maybe you should’ve stopped there.”

“What? The light JUST came on, how could it be out of gas already?”

“Babe, the light didn’t just come on or you wouldn’t be out of gas right now.”

“Well, I JUST noticed it….”

He shakes head, files for divorce.

Just kidding. He didn't even get mad.  He really is kind of a saint. Saint GI Joe of Patience for Blonde Wife. I should get a medallion with that on it.

He got back in his truck, told his dad and mom who were behind him at the stop sign the situation and asked his dad to run home to get a 5 gallon gas can, and drove the whole half a block back to Casey’s to get gas, leaving me there to speak to the various townspeople who pulled up beside me at the stop sign to offer unsolicited commentary. In 3 weeks time I’ve had my peacock on the City Hall’s Facebook status and now stalled out at the busiest intersection in town, I’m building quite the reputation for myself. Oh and did I mention that usually when I run out of gas it takes a full 10 gallons in the gas tank before it will start again? It’s a fun little quirk GMC/Chevy added to vehicles like mine that we learned about a few Halloweens ago. So using the 1 gallon gas can GI Joe had was going to take a while to get the PMobile back up and running, which is why he sent his dad to get a 5 gallon one. Funny story….as the gas can situation was being discussed GI Joe’s mom piped up and asked his dad, “Don’t you have a 10 gallon gas can?” He promptly began laughing and teasing her about the non existence of a 10 gallon gas can and if it did exist it would probably have to have wheels because can you imagine someone trying to carry a Geo Metro’s gas tank down the highway when they ran out of gas?

GI Joe quickly returned with the 1 gallon can full of gas and put it in the PMobile. He did some magic and somehow got her started. Which is a clear indication that it was not COMPLETELY out of gas or it would’ve taken the full 10 gallons to get her started again. But I wasn’t going to mention that I was, in fact, kind of right, so he drove it to Casey’s and filled it up and I followed behind in his truck. When we got to Casey’s, I asked him if I should just head home and get supper started because it was late and we were starving. Instead of giving me the go ahead he told me absolutely not that I had to drive my PMobile home as he didn’t want people thinking it was HIM that had run out of gas at the stop sign…half a block past the GAS station. As I was waiting for my gas to be pumped by my handsome husband in uniform so I could drive it home and he could avoid further embarrassment, a single friend of ours pulled into the parking lot. I gave her the lowdown of our night, she laughed and said to GI Joe, “I can’t even get a date and here she gets someone with your tolerance level. Life is so unfair.” Hahahaha. Sorry ‘bout your luck T.

In closing 1) next time AS SOON AS I SEE THE ORANGE LIGHT ON I’ll *try* to remember to get gas…immediately and 2) there’s a special place in heaven for GI Joe for getting the pleasure of dealing with me and my various idiosyncrasies all these years.

In my defense, he is the one who told my mom he wanted to marry me “because life will never be boring”. I’m just holding up my end of the bargain.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Food Friday

This week's Friday almost didn't happen because I have some kind of virus and feel awful and I've run out of brandy, so yeah, good times. 

But THEN, my sister Heidi called me and told me the most amazing news!

No, it's not another niece or nephew on the way...sadly.  It was food related which I'll settle for...for now.  She had found and made a recipe that tasted like our favorite soup from the restaurant we frequented during our childhood.  The restaurant is still there but the soup was taken off the menu years ago and we've never gotten over it.  Our childhoods are peppered with memories of going to Bakers Square restaurant with our family and godmother, NIta and eating this soup.  It was our go to restaurant.  We girls would always order the same things, cottage cheese and/or salad, cauliflower augratin soup, and a slice of chocolate peanut butter cup pie.  We were odd children but it was so, SO good.  Thankfully, the peanut butter cup pie is stil there but we were all heartbroken the day, probably 10 years ago, that we tried to order our beloved Cauliflower Au Gratin soup and they told us they didn't serve it anymore. 
But now we can dry our eyes because the soup is back, not at the restaurant but in our own kitchens!  And it was perfect timing that she sent me the recipe today as the only thing that sounded appetizing to me in my current state was a steamy bowl of soup, (well and brandy but I digress).  Sisterly timing. 

So I made this soup tonight and it was every bit as delicious as I remember it.  My boys gobbled it up too.  Dakota and GI Joe wouldn't even try it as they "hate" cauliflower.  The funny thing is that when we were ordering this soup as 6 and 9 year olds back in the late 80's/early 90's neither of us thought we liked cauliflower either.  This soup is more about the cheese than it is the cauliflower so even if you think you don't like cauliflower you'll probably like this soup.  Although I can't prove that since I didn't force my cauliflower hating family members to try it.  Next time I'll blend it all up and tell them it's just cheese soup, shhh don't tell. 
Anyway, here's the recipe. 

Cauliflower Au Gratin Soup
1/2 stick butter
1 large stalk of celery, chopped
1 large carrot or 6 baby carrots, chopped
1/4 c. onion, chopped (or 1 T dried minced onion)
6 cups chicken broth or (6 bouillion cubes + 6 cups of water)
1 head of cauliflower
1 c. milk or half and half
2 T. cornstarch
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Saute carrots, celery, onion, and half the head of cauliflower finely chopped, in the butter.  Add 6 cups of chicken broth and the other half of the cauliflower chopped into bigger pieces.   Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are tender.  Add 2 T. cornstarch to 1 c. of milk or half and half to dissolve, then add to the broth.  Add in can of cheese soup, salt and pepper to taste, simmer until thickened.  Sprinkle with paprika before serving. 

Hurry and make this, it'll cure whatever ails you.  Or at least I'm hoping it will.  At any rate it tastes delicious!  Enjoy!

Happy Friday!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Food Friday


Sadly, there weren’t any recipes that we tried this week that were “OMGoodness I HAVE TO BLOG ABOUT THIS” worthy. There were a few that were good, at least in GI Joe and I’s opinion but one (a Chicken Tamale Casserole) that we thought was particularly delicious was “dry” and “why does it have to have chicken in it?” and “I hate chicken and I hate cornbread and this has both…GROSS” to 2 of our lovely offspring. So yeah, that was a FUN dinner. The commentaries and bad attitudes and refusals to eat resulted in 2 food critic children running hills while their drill sergeant daddy yelled at them to go faster and one grouchy mama guzzling from cooking wine bottle (kidding). Good times. So yeah, I’d hate to put any other parents through that so I won’t share that recipe. You win some you lose some I guess. I just happened to lose my sanity.

Blade, the one child who cleaned his plate that night without complaint, knew I needed a little pick me up. You can see why sometimes I have to remind myself that I CAN’T have a favorite. ;) Anyway, I had an awful headache, was tired, and just really not in the mood to deal with 2 kids complaining about a meal I’d prepared when I would’ve much rather just told them to fend for themselves. I was a grouch. Blade, always trying to make people laugh, looked at me and said, “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven? Cuz you look like an angel.” Ahahahaha, man I love that kid. How could I not laugh at that?!?!? He told me that’s a classic line straight from the 4th grade. He assured me that he hadn’t used it, of course, but that his friend H uses it all the time. Then he told me, “I don’t really have to use lines like that, it just comes natural.” OH BROTHER. Bad mood vanished.

You know what else will make a bad mood vanish?

This stuff…

Seriously. Go buy some NOW. Then eat it with pretzels or straight out of the jar with your finger, just whatever it takes to get it in your mouth as quickly as possible.

I don’t know how to describe it except it’s creamy and smooth and awesome. It’s found next to the peanut butter at the grocery store. It’s not peanut butter at all but it does have that consistency. It’s a cookie butter. A buttery spread made out of cookies. WHAT? Yes. It’s so good. We’ve gone through 4 jars in 2 weeks, it’s becoming problematic. But not really because it’s lower in calories and fat than peanut butter or Nutella. Although it’s probably NOT lower in calories and fat than peanut butter when you eat the entire jar of it. Just a guess.

And while we’re talking about my favorite things on earth at the moment, grab a jar of Biscoff (with or without pretzels it’s your call), sit on your couch and watch this show It is the funniest show on TV without even trying. I live for Wednesday nights. It’s kid appropriate just as long as you tell the kids in no uncertain terms that they should not attempt to do any of the things that the guys on the show do (ie: use dynamite to blow up a beaver dam). My whole family LOVES this show and laughs out loud from start to finish every. single. episode. I want the Robertsons to be my neighbors. Check it out if you’re not already hooked on it, good stuff.

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lookin' for Love

I’ve mentioned our peacock perils before . All has been well in the peacock department lately. Aladdin our resident peacock happily struts around the Koons Zoo and makes at least one, usually more, daily trips down the road (without crossing the road) to my inlaws aka his second home to eat cat food and sit on their deck then typically comes back home to roost on top of our house (seriously, it’s classy!) or in the barnyard for the night. It’s a rough life he lives.

Lately though, he’s been a little lonely. The chickens and llama and sheep and goat and etc just aren’t filling the void in his life. The void where a peahen (that’s a girl peacock for all you cityslickers out there) should be. He’s been squawking, which if you’re not familiar with how a peacock sounds, imagine a young child yelling “HELP! HELP!” over and over or a car horn honking repeatedly, a lot lately. His squawks are those of despair and desperation. Homeboy wants a girlfriend! We’ve been doing what farmers have been doing for generations, looking on Craig’s List for one, but so far our search has proven futile and there’s only been one auction so far this year and we missed it so no peahen yet. In a word, he’s PITIFUL.

Apparently, Aladdin wasn’t impressed with the speed in which we were locating a mate for him so he took matters into his own hands talons wings?. One afternoon 2 weeks ago as I was just getting home from work my phone started blowing up with texts that said things like “City Hall just posted on FB about your peacock” and “City Hall has your peacock” and “Did you lose your peacock?”

Umm what? Trust me, I was confused as you are right now.  Did someone pick up our peacock and take him to City Hall?  Did our peacock walk/fly the 5+ miles to City Hall to wind up in the lost and found?  The questions I had were aplenty. 

So I checked Facebook and sure enough the City of VM had posted the following status update, “So…I receive calls about stray dogs, missing cats, and sometimes even missing stray kids. Today I have someone who had a peacock show up in her yard. If you are missing a peacock or you know someone missing a peacock it has been located 3.5 miles south of town. Please call Beverly @ 123-4567 to reclaim.”

Guess who else lives in the same general vicinity as 3.5 miles south of town?

Guess who didn’t see her peacock in any of his normal haunts around the Koons Zoo or adjoining properties?

Guess who went outside and honked her horn to see if Aladdin would “answer”? Oh yeah, that’s how we talk to him, we honk the horn, he squawks back, communication at it’s finest.

Guess who did not answer?

Guess who’s peacock was hanging out at Beverly ’s house about a mile northeast of our house?

Ding! Ding! Honestly, this stuff could only happen to us.

So I called Beverly and we discussed the wandering peacock. She said he’d shown up earlier that morning and had been hanging around all afternoon. She said she knew he belonged to someone because of the collar and tags hanging around his neck. Just kidding, she said she knew he belonged to someone because of how beautiful and clearly well fed he was. Which was a nice way of saying our peacock is fat. Next time I’m having a “fat day” I’m just going to look myself in the mirror and say, “PP, you’re not fat you’re just WELL FED.” I think that will make me feel so much better. Anyway, I explained to Beverly that he’s never wandered off before but that it had become increasingly obvious that he was looking for a mate so he must’ve decided to take his pursuit of happiness in her direction and that his name was Aladdin. She got a kick out of that, what not everyone names their peacock?!? She also told me they had chickens so she thought maybe he was willing to settle for a chicken instead of a peahen. We have chickens too but he must’ve wanted some other options. And then to be sure it was in fact, our peacock, I asked her to honk at him and see if he responded or to yell, “Aladdin, come! Come, Aladdin!” and see if he came. Not that he does for us at home but just thought it’d be fun for Beverly to try. Pretty sure Beverly thought I was crazy. She went back outside while talking to me so we could verify that it was Aladdin and he had disappeared, gone, vanished. I told Beverly to call me if he turned up again. So basically I activated the Neighborhood Watch…for a peacock.

Then I loaded the kids up in the Princess Mobile and we drove around the countryside with our windows down, stopping every so often to lay on the horn and yell “ALADDIN!” and then listen for his response. Nothing. He was nowhere to be found but we were only a little worried because we figured he’d come home when the sun went down to “roost” but we were worried that something (ie: coyote, fox, etc) might get him on his trek home. It was a Wednesday night so we went to church and put Aladdin on the prayer request list and his return was prayed for right after so and so’s sick mother and John’s Bible reading and church attendance. ;) Seriously. Only in a small church, folks. The prayers paid off because we got a text as we were leaving church that night from GI Joe’s mom who had stayed home from church sick. The text said, “Aladdin’s home!” and then she called us and kept yelling “HELP!” at Aladdin so he’d “talk” back and we could hear it. It was hysterical. And when we got home we honked our horn at him and the sound of his squawk was music to our ears. Our prodigal peacock had returned!!! We would’ve killed the fattened calf and had a feast to welcome him home except Holy Cow IS our fattened calf and we all know THAT is never gonna happen.

The next morning as I left for work, I looked around for Aladdin and didn’t see him, not unusual because he has a couple different hangouts and isn’t always visible. So I honked several times to see if he was around, he didn’t respond. I knew what this meant. The prodigal peacock had wandered off again. Not 15 minutes later, sweet Beverly called to tell me that he had returned to their house. I called GI Joe and told him so he set out on the 4wheeler with a fishnet to retrieve Aladdin and bring him home. As you can imagine, that went swimmingly…or not. Everytime GI Joe got close enough to him he flew up into some trees or went further into the woods. After about 20 minutes of this nonsense, GI Joe headed home peacockless and decided that we’d just catch him when he came home that night to roost. I called Beverly back to let her know that Aladdin may be hanging out at their house today because we weren’t able to catch him to bring him home. She was so nice and said that her grandkids were visiting from Chicago and were just fascinated by the peacock hanging around because apparently in Chicago they don’t frequently look out their bedroom windows and see a peacock fanning in the yard.  I think that explains the delinquency among today's youth, not enough wildlife in the urban areas.  :) 

As expected, Aladdin made his way home that evening and sat on our back deck and was looking thru the patio doors at us. GI Joe snuck around from the front of the house with fishnet in hand and caught him. Then he put him in a secure, pen that he would not be able to escape from just until we are able to find him a mate, then we’ll let him loose again because it’s kinda cool to have a peacock randomly strutting around your house and yard, try it sometime.

Aladdin is not happy about his house arrest and belligerently squawked and strutted at GI Joe after he put him in his new home. But he’s coping and he's staying off of the City Hall's facebook status, so it's all good.

As for us, once he was home, safe and secure, I commented on the City’s facebook status letting them know the peacock had returned home and all was well. I have a feeling that from here on out whenever they get a call about a strange stray animal, we’ll be the first call they make.

And with that, I think we successfully clenched the title of the (outside of) town crazies with all the animals and who once lost their peacock. A title we’re proud to bear.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Food Friday

Would you look at that? This makes the SIXTH edition of Food Friday...IN A ROW. I didn't even take "the pill" as regularly as I've blogged Food Friday, hence.......Ryder. Ahem. ;)

Moving on...

First, I'm going to show you a little something that helps me, working mother of 3/cupcake baker/zookeeper/chauffeur/etc stay organized when it comes to dinner every night. I plan my meals for the week while I'm making my grocery list and then I write those meals on this cute little board.

Yeah, I'm a Type A planning nerd and I know it, so what?!  But this way when Wednesday rolls around I'm not staring at my cupboards/fridge/freezer wondering what on earth I was planning to do with this stuff I bought at the grocery store a whole 5 days ago. Short term memory...not one of my strengths. I keep the list in my purse too and on that list I also write where the recipe for that particular meal is found ie: Tasty Kitchen, a blog, a cookbook, my imagination, etc. The family loves being able to see what's on tap for the week and sometimes I even go all "good mom" on the kids and let them pick from the list what we have for supper on a given night. And then they draw colorful and weird cartoon characters on my otherwise pristine board, awesome. I don't go so far as to assign a particular night to a meal because let's be honest sometimes no matter what the board says you just don't feel like cooking or you are suddenly very iron deficient and need BEEF instead of the chicken or pork that may have been scheduled for that eve. Sidenote: My family's biggest and really only complaint about my cooking is "WHY DO WE EAT SO MUCH CHICKEN?!" Anyone else get that? Darn me for being cholesterol and fatty meat conscious. In my defense, it's not like I'm serving them the SAME chicken every night so who cares?!? I pick out and plan for 5-7 meals when I go to the store, planning on some carryover into the next week and also the very real possibility that one of the nights planned for I may just say to heck with it and order Casey's Pizza anyway.  An added bonus of the board is that it makes your kitchen look like an official diner.  So much in fact that when my 8 year old namesake was naming her favorite restaurants to eat at she said, "IHop and Koons Kafe."   YES!  :)

Speaking of being a working mom, have you read the book "I Don't Know How She Does It?" It was also made into a movie recently starring Sarah Jessica Parker. I read the book, and I gotta tell you I was so disappointed. I thought since it was supposed to be a funny book about the struggles and juggles of a working mom that I would enjoy it because I could relate and get a good laugh out of it. But no, it just made me sad because it made it seem like to be a working mom you were basically robbed of your soul and were just in robot mode to get thru life. It was depressing and I just wanted to reach into the book and slap the main character and tell her to GET A GRIP and QUIT BEING NICER TO YOUR JERKY COWORKERS THAN YOU ARE YOUR OWN FAMILY. I'm considering writing a book called "I KNOW How She Does I It AND Happily" because it can be done and I do it (not perfectly by any means but I do it) every day and I LOVE my life. Anyone seen the movie? Please tell me it's better than the book. Uggh, I just had to get that off my chest, it really bugged me. Moral of the story, don't read the book. Thank you.

My apologies for the random book review, now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

One of the recipes that was on the Koons Kafe Menu Board this week was a recipe I had seen all over online. The one I used was from>. It involved a crockpot, a roast, and 3 seasoning packets. You had me at crockpot followed by roast. Nothing beats coming home to the smell of a roast in the crockpot amiright? Yankee Candle should totally make a Beef Roast scented candle, I'd buy it. Anyway, this recipe was SO good. We shredded the meat, put it on hoagie buns, topped it with some sliced mozzarella, put it under the broiler to melt the cheese and then either dipped it in the leftover gravy or added extra gravy to the sandwich, except we didn't call it gravy we called it debris like they do at Mother's  one of our favorite restaurants in New Orleans.. But you could serve it with mashed potatoes or rice or egg noodles too. All I know is it was so good and took me exactly 3 minutes in the morning to prep. 3 MINUTES. When I walked in the house that evening, my mouth started watering instantly. I even kinda felt sorry for the dogs that they had to smell that deliciousness all day long but proud of them for exercising self control and not trying to get the crockpot down from the counter to devour it. Not that they have ever done such a thing.

Here's the recipe:

3 Packet Roast

1 3-4 lb. beef roast
1 c. water
1 c. salsa (don't be afraid of the salsa, I was a little nervous about it because it seemed like a weird addition but it totally worked)
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
1 envelope Au Jus mix

Whisk together water, salsa and seasoning packets. Or be like me and just dump them all in the crockpot over the roast and then stir to mix them up as best you can while coating the roast because after all it is super early in the morning and who can be bothered with whisking?!? Cook on low 8-10 hours. Enjoy!

Happy GOOD Friday!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hornless Holy

GI Joe and I had last Monday off as it was the last day of the kids' spring break and we had taken a little trip to Minneapolis for the weekend. I'll tell you stories about that another time. We got home from MN on Sunday night but Monday we had very important business to do. The business of dehorning Holy Cow. Well, not US technically, but the vet. It was long overdue and the vet had time to do it at 10:30 on Monday morning. We opted to take Holy to the vet rather than the vet coming to us because as tame as Holy is we didn't think loading him would be a problem, and why not save the vet's farm visit fee? After all, I had just spent 9 hours at the Mall of America on Saturday so I was all about the saving money on boring stuff (ie: vet visit), you understand.

Even though it was the last day of sleeping in Spring Break freedom, Blade had requested that we wake him up so he could help GI Joe load Holy into the horse trailer. He thinks he's a livestock loading expert since he successfully helped in the loading of Hormel, when she went to her new home and all . I know, you're probably surprised I didn't just buckle Holy into the backseat of the Princess Mobile but he's kind of a big boy these days, so the horse trailer it was. GI Joe and Blade drove the truck pulling the horse trailer out into the pasture and up the hill where Holy was hanging out and of course Holy went bounding over to greet them. And bound he does, I really must get video of this someday, it's absurd. Holy wasn't alone and pretty soon, a llama, 2 horses, and 2 donkeys were all up in GI Joe and Blade's business making it rather difficult to focus on getting Holy in the horse trailer. Holy himself was no problem once he spotted the sweet feed GI Joe had in the bucket for him. His love for sweet feed rivals mine for Reese's Eggs.  He followed GI Joe right on into the trailer but so did the llama. The llama who did not need to go to the vet. Have I mentioned that Boise the llama is like an obnoxiously affectionate cat? Because he is. My wish for a llama as affectionate and loveable as Wally/Conway has been granted x 20. When GI Joe is working in the barnyard whether building something, repairing something, or whatever, someone has to be out there with him to PLAY with the llama. Because if the llama is not sufficiently distracted and getting love from someone else he has his head on GI Joe's shoulder and is nudging him repeatedly trying to get him to pay attention to him. It makes fence mending and building rather difficult, so I'm told. Loading Holy was no different and Boise wasn't thrilled with the prospect of Holy getting to go somewhere and be with the humans and he didn't.  Somehow GI Joe and Blade finally managed to get the llama OUT of the trailer and the cow IN.  As for me, I was exhausted just watching all this from the deck while drinking my morning coffee. 

So we took Holy to the vet, the same vet whom we took our very sick llama to.  He's a great guy and I think he realizes that we aren't his typical farmer customers.  If he didn't know that before he certainly figured it out on this particular day.  As we were unloading Holy, which let's be honest was simply a matter of opening the trailer door and saying "Come here Holy" the vet asked GI Joe, "So what's his story?  Are you raising him to butcher or what?"  To which GI Joe said, "Oh no, it's her pet, " and nodded his head in my direction.  The vet looked at me and then looked at my 800+ pound "pet" and said, " as in FOREVER?!?"  GI Joe just nodded as if to say, "I KNOW but you try telling her cows are only for eating." 
The vet led Holy into a pen and told us he'd have him ready for us in about 15 minutes if we had any errands to run.  When we got back after spending our 15 free minutes at the farm store in town, the vet greeted us, laughing, and said, "Well, that is the TAMEST steer I've ever dealt with.  He just followed me around and kept trying to kiss me.  Sure beats him trying to trample me or eat me like most of them do."
Then he showed us the new and improved Holy and told us that the dehorning went as smooth and easy as it possibly could in large part to the overly tame steer who just stood there and let the doc do whatever he wanted to do to his horns.  Then he told us Holy's stats....851 POUNDS, 49 1/2" long, 98% percentile.  OK just kidding on the length and percentile, but you guys?   I have an 851 pound PET, my life is complete and my dreams have come true. 
Then the vet asked me if I wanted to keep the trophies.  It took me a second to figure out what he was talking about.  I thought maybe he was giving me a trophy for raising the most awesome cow ever or the coveted Tamest Steer Award but alas he was talking about the actual horns.  I said yes, and he handed me a bag with Holy's horns in them.  I'm either going to put  them on the mantle, above our front door,  or above our driveway like they do on real cattle ranches in Texas, because you know, we have ONE cow and live in Iowa so it's basically the same.  So what if those are usually horns from Texas longhorns and these horns are about 1/10 the size, I dare to be different.  :) 
We paid the vet, (who knew it's only $20 to have your cow dehorned?!?) and then we took Holy home and let him out in the pasture.  I'm pretty sure he was kinda ticked at me because he wouldn't even come near me once he got out.  In fact, he kinda looked at me like, "First you take my bullhood and now you take my horns?!?  Unforgivable." 
He's since forgotten about it and we're back to our state of bovine bliss. 
Here he is before.....

He's sexy and he knows it.  

And after....

So for a mere $20 we got a new mantle/door/driveway decoration, bruised thighs, scrape protection on the barn, and unlimited, justified use of the line "Ahahahaha Holy's not horny anymore!"  MONEY. WELL. SPENT.