And Now For Something Different: Adventures in the Kitchen
I am not a cook. I’m the daughter of a cook. And a baker. I grew up in a restaurant. But I’ve not inherited the genes that make one skillful at knowing what spices to combine with what bases.
I’m the one who tried to make her own coconut rice and had it described as “palatable.”
I tried to make a chocolate strawberry tart and the hubs needed a butcher knife to cut it.
Recently, I set a potholder on FIRE! 😀
And so, in our household, it is my partner, Joe, who does the cooking. And I remain ever grateful. But we’ve challenged ourselves to do things a little differently in our partnership and I’ve started making one meal a week with the goals of being health conscious and tasty.
Like a good little wi-fi (my husband’s nickname for me given my love of social media), I trolled pinterest for some recipes that looked good, easy to make, and were healthy. That means I was steering clear of recipes with a lot of dairy, red meat, or carbs. Here’s what the past 2 months have brought about.
*Note: All photographs are my own. I thought you should see what the food looked like when an amateur attempts to pinterest at home. Bon appetit!
Featuring the 30 Best Buddha Bowls, Yummy Mummy Kitchen included a winter bowl with curried chickpeas that I adapted at the end (scroll to the bottom of her post). I made the chickpeas as she described, then played around with my own vegetable options. I sautéed rainbow carrots and brussel sprouts in olive oil, ginger, and cumin until tender. And I added marinated beets and a thai cocount curry hummus which I purchased from my co-op to the top of the bowl. Everything was dumped on a bed of spinach. It’s a nice mix of sweet, spicy, creamy and tangy.
White Bean and Avocado Burritos
I am not the best burrito roller, but halfway through I got the hang of it! This dish was really filling and nice for leftovers. Our favorite part was the cilantro lime sauce. Bonus, the recipe from Ceara’s Kitchen is also vegan, so if you’re looking for some meat-free meal options, this one’s good.
Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes
Alright, so pancakes aren’t exactly at the top of the health food menu, but it was the weekend and I wanted to do something special. Plus we’d received super yummy Canadian maple syrup from my brother’s family as a thank you for dog sitting so pancakes were really the only option.
This recipe from The View From Great Island is a very delicious lemony treat and goes great with fresh blueberries and turkey bacon on the side.
*Notice my absolute lack of skill in pancake flipping. I made Lemon Poppyseed Pan-shmooshes.
Chicken Tikka Masala
When the chef preparing this dish says she eats chicken tikka masala multiple times a week, you know you can trust the recipe to be pretty good. Found on Savory Tooth, this chicken tikka masala recipe was indeed, tasty.
This recipe requires an Indian spice blend called garam masala, which for those of you who live in a smaller city, could be hard to find. You can buy it online, but I was lucky enough to find it in the bulk aisle of my co-op and prepare my own baggie full of the spice. Buy extra, cause the next recipe calls for it too!
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
I have absolutely no idea why this recipe is called Butter Chicken when there is, in fact, no butter in it. But for folks who like spice, then this dinner from Damn Delicious is the ticket. It’s extra spicy if you pair it, as I did, with Fooduzzi’s recipe for Sriracha Almond Butter Roasted Brussel Sprouts. Zing!
If you’re trying to cut out excess carbs too, you can put the chicken over a bed of chopped spinach instead of rice like we did, and sprinkle with cilantro.
The Winning Favorites
The two best recipes, as favored by the hubs and I, were…
Crock Pot Thai Chicken Soup
From The Endless Meal, this recipe for thai chicken soup, which simmers in a crockpot for eight hours was DELECTABLE! Red curry paste mixed with chicken stock and coconut milk makes up the broth. Add chicken, plus whatever vegetables you want, and rice vermicelli noodles – which cook in 2 minutes! For veggies this time, I used red pepper, onion, mushrooms, and tomatoes. So savory and even the leftovers are delicious.
Roasted Chicken With Vegetables
And the other hit was Roasted Chicken with Vegetables from The Cookie Writer. Another easy one pan meal – hooray! The cook behind this recipe saved time by buying chopped veggies from the grocery store, but I did my own chopping with what we had on hand already. I substituted chicken breasts for the bone in chicken, since we had 3 frozen chicken breasts to use up. And the veggies I cut up were cauliflower, green pepper, and baby carrots. My hubs loved the paprika and basil spice blend.
There you have my adventures in the kitchen. It’s not going too bad!
Minus, you know, that ONE potholder. 😛
What are the recipes you love and return to?
See any on this list you might try?
My Husband and I Cannot Be Trusted to Pick Out “Our Song”
My husband and I are celebrating two years of marriage this month. And we’ve been a couple for a decade.
We should probably have a song picked out by now.
I mean, we kinda do. We have the song we first danced to. The song we sang at our wedding. We’ve recorded two CDs for family covering songs we love. Given my husband is a professional musician, there is no shortage of music in our home.
Yet, on a recent car trip, a specific song came on the radio and Joe’s eyes lit up in excitement as he said, “Do you know what this is?”
“Think Tia Carrere.”
It was Dreamweaver by Gary Wright.
“This should be our song,” said Joe.
“Um, I’m not sure I agree with that. Even if it is the soundtrack for a great scene in Wayne’s World.”
I politely suggested another song.
Bird on a Wire by Aaron Neville.
And that, is when my husband gave me a look that said “we will not be figuring out what our song is today.”
Also, he was less than enthused when I started playing this song after he exited the bathroom later that day. *shrug* I still say it’s got a good groove.
What’s your song? How did you choose it?
What song recommendation do you have for Joe and I?
Because clearly, we can’t be trusted.
3 Lessons Learned From the Listen To Your Mother Show
I can’t believe it’s been a week since show night already. I was working on the La Crosse production of Listen to Your Mother for six months. How can it be over already?
If you haven’t seen the bombardment of social media posts I’ve been doing about Listen To Your Mother (
instead of blogging regularly), then you probably aren’t following me on social media, and you should because I like you.
Listen To Your Mother is a live, storytelling event that gives motherhood a microphone. The last shows have taken the stage, making the collection of 500 some unique, truth-telling stories, take place across 41 cities in North America.
That’s pretty cool.
It has taken me awhile to fully process what this show and its aftermath have meant to me. I’m still exhausted! But in the best possible way. Kind emails and handwritten notes are still coming in thanking our team for a beautiful, magical night of storytelling, for voices being heard and diversity represented. For making them laugh – so many laughs. And also for the tears.
So many inspired souls have said they’re going to audition next year!
And final numbers are in, so I cut the donation check for YWCA La Crosse today!!!
Here’s what I can sum up for you.
3 Lessons Learned From the Listen To Your Mother Show
1. Attitude is Everything
When I first had the itch to apply and bring LTYM to my city, I had an entirely different production team and charity lined up. I also had a different job. When things went from bad to worse at that job (sometime I’ll tell you about it), no one was willing to put in the work anymore. But I KNEW this show could be amazing. I KNEW there were stories out there that needed to be told.
So, I did it myself.
I lined up a new production team, one that believed in the power of story like I did. And I found a new charity, one that said yes instantly and supported me from staff to director to board member. And I wrote up an application I hoped would make it really, really hard for the national team to say no to.
Channeling my energy into something that was positive and making a difference in the community saved me. Working on this show encouraged me to make big changes in my life because we all deserve to feel heard and appreciated and energized.
2. My Husband is Proud of Me
Let me tell you the ways my husband supported me. And, I’m warning you in advance, I’m going to get mushy about this.
In the beginning, it was advice on production stuff – venues to look at, performance things to think about. It helps he’s a musician and very familiar with locations. Then it was social media shares with the obligatory “Here’s this thing my wife is doing”.
Next he went and offered to play live, acoustic music in the lobby for show day! Because he saw how hard I was working and wanted to support me in the best way he knew how, he helped make our debut show a little more special – a little more like a fancy night out on the town.
But folks, what really made me tear up and get “the feels” so hard was his response to the show. You see, I didn’t come home from rehearsals and talk about the show. I probably mentioned how many things I had to do for the show (more than once), but I didn’t tell anyone about the stories we shared. That magic and trust needed to be saved for show night. So, my hubs was that guy who got roped into attending because his wife was the one running it. Storytelling is not exactly “his thing.”
The reason I know the LTYM show is a gamechanger of a production is because it gets people talking. And my husband started talking and sharing his thoughts with me about the show and the stories he heard. And not just that night, but all week long.
My husband is not a big talker. He does not often share his emotions. Not many guys do. But after watching the show, my husband told me he saw me making a difference. He called me a rockstar. He had thoughtful, personal things to say about the show’s stories. He said he was motivated to make changes in his life. And he told me he was proud of me.
*wipes eyes, blows nose*
I told you, this one gave me ALL THE FEELS. I am so grateful for his support.
3. Perspective: Your Girlfriends’ Gonna Give It To Ya
When you work with talented people, you up your game. When you collaborate with them, you make lifelong friends.
I am eternally grateful for the amazingly cohesive production team that agreed to work with me without fully knowing how much work it would, in fact, be. I admired these women before the show production started, I have deep respect and awe for them now.
From start to finish, this group came in fully understanding the special-ness of a LTYM show. They appreciated and honored every story we heard in auditions, they put in countless hours of time away from their own families to work on the show and get to know our cast. They found local sponsors, made food for the cast, and helped make this show come alive.
We also had the help of our national LTYM team. All of whom are amazing mentors who know HOW TO RUN A SHOW that stretches its performances across a continent!
When little things seemed big or something made me worry, these women had my back. They responded quickly and succinctly and put everything in its place. They believed in me and one another. They support the kind of world I want to live in. I’m so proud to work beside them.
So, when next year Mother’s Day rolls around, run don’t walk to the nearest Listen To Your Mother show near you. Apply to bring it to your city. Audition. Get inspired. This show changes lives.
Sh*t My Husband Says While Sleeping: Star Wars Edition
This is my husband, Joe.
To clarify, he’s the non-reptile one.
Joe likes road trips, playing 2 recorders at once,
and making his wife sing songs with him.
Joe also talks in his sleep. Sometimes he laughs about things like crackers and email, and other times he stresses over where to store hot water.
Whatever he says, it’s typically entertaining, so I like to share it with all of you!
Recently, we went to see the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. We both really liked it! And I guess he had the movie on his mind one night when I overheard this…
Joe: Aiding and abetting…
Joe: Chewbacca lovers.
Me: What about them?
Joe: I don’t know… They’re up to something.
Then, a few nights later, he made this random statement.
Joe: I wish I had some coconut oil.
He claims that dream came from a Facebook ad in his feed about coconut oil being a fix-all solution for any problem. Sure, Joe. Whatever you say.
What do YOU think the Chewbacca lovers are up to?
And in case you missed it, celebrity themed movie marathons are back! Every wednesday night this January, we’re watching an Emilio Estevez film and celebrating #EmilioFestevez!!!
Watch along and live tweet the film using the #EmilioFestevez hashtag.
And now, there’s a Facebook group for that!!
Movie marathons are bi-monthly, and if Twitter’s not your thing, you can hangout on Facebook too. Find out the movie lineups, share your ideas for future marathons, and meet other film-loving fools like you! Hope to see you there!
Before I Met Keanu Reeves, I Also Ran Into Bigfoot
Many of you now know about my serendipitous run-in with Keanu Reeves. I still don’t understand quite how that happened, but I’m glad it did as it was awesome. What you don’t know is that I also ran into Bigfoot.
I was planning to write a very different story for my blog that weekend. A story about a hiking trip that Joe and I went on.
I know, I know, we all know how THAT goes. One of us ends up missing.
And to that I say, at least we’re consistent, which is a prime foundation to have in a marriage, especially when one party may have pooped their pants while hiking thereby ruining all shreds of romance forever.
So before Joe and I ended up at the bar where I glanced out the window and commented “That guy looks like Keanu,” we were hiking.
Sure, sure, this is exactly how it’s supposed to look. I always crawl through death branches to get from point A to point B.
True to form, Joe rarely lets me pick what direction we go since I’m supposedly the one that got us lost the first time. But then, he went and picked a trail that looks like this!
Me: “Well this looks like a dark and treacherous path.”
Joe: “I’ve made my peace with it.”
It doesn’t even phase him anymore!
When we crept upon the creepiest cavern looking structure, we debated.
Me: “Oh look at that. I bet that’s the witch’s cabin.”
Joe: “That’s just a rock formation.”
Me: “That’s what she wants you to think.”
Amazingly, we were not witch-napped and forced to eat sweets until our bellies burst and no one made pies out of our intestines and such. But it was a close call, lemme tell you.
On a sunnier trail, we fell into one of our usual conversations comparing our relationship to various film or book references. You know, a “you’re Wild Bill Hickock and I’m Calamity Jane from Deadwood” or “you’re Lonestar from Spaceballs, but I’m Dot not Princess Vespa.”
And then Joe tried to sum us up with this…
Joe: “The difference between us is that I’m more crass, but you have the dirtier mind.”
Me: *leans in really close to his ear and whispers* “You’re welcome.”
And then this is the part where I’m guessing Joe got sun poisoning. Or temporarily possessed by aliens because I shot this photo….
Pretty funky lighting, amirite?
And then he did this…
Who knew, Bigfoot’s in Wisconsin?!
How was your week everyone?
Sh*t My Husband Says While Sleeping, Vol. 3
Maybe it was the onset of school starting (him being a teacher and all). Maybe it’s the change of the seasons. Whatever the reason, my hubby has started talking in his sleep again.
If you’re new here, this is my husband.
His name is Joe.
He’s a fan of hot sauce, guitar solos, and
beard oil for facial hair maintenance.
Occasionally, Joe talks in his sleep. Sometimes he calls me his “little pear juice” or starts laughing about crackers and email.
And then there are times, when he’s fast asleep, and he says shit like this:
Joe: It’s hot.
Me: Are you too hot?
Joe: It’s time to install the hot tub.
Me: Hot tub?
Joe: Where should we put it?
Joe: Don’t you think we need one? To store all this hot water?
I don’t… Yah, we’re not getting a hot tub. We’ve never discussed getting a hot tub, and if we ever DO get a hot tub, I am confident that Joe would not install it himself.
Where do YOU keep your hot water?
P.S. We’re coming up on week 2 of #Keanuthon. Thanks to all who watched Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure with us! We found out it was his birthday on the 2nd, so what a great day to kick off the party!
Here is one of my favorite tweets from the event, which came from my movie-clueless friend, Heather. This was a legitimate question she asked before coming over. Oh, Lawd.
This week we’re watching Point Break, the one where Keanu plays an FBI agent who goes undercover to catch a bunch of bank robbers that might be surfers. Costars include Patrick Swayze (with what is possibly the most epic of surfer hair imaginable), Gary Busey as his FBI partner, and John C. McGinley (who you may know as Dr. Perry Cox from Scrubs).
The preview promises 100% pure adrenaline!!
Watch along with us at 8pm CST this wednesday and live tweet the movie using #Keanuthon. Hope to see you there!
Enjoy your week, everyone!
Top Five Things I’ve Learned About Married Life
Break out the champagne and candles! We’ve been married for one year!
I know it’s hard to fathom. Two youngest children forced to play nice together. Most odds would have us laying tape lines around the house, each sticking to our respective sides. Or at the very least, using a conch shell to determine whose turn it is to talk.
“Sucks to your assmar!”
But we’ve managed to co-habitate with relatively little violence and debauchery.
(In case you’re wondering, the violence is from our new set of kitchen knives. Every time Joe uses them, he manages to cut himself. Either those knives are sharper than a Lady Bic throwaway razor or Joe has the skin of a flower petal.)
In contemplating our one year anniversary, it occurred to me there were many learning lessons along the way.
Top Five Things I’ve Learned About Married Life
1. Simply Being a Wife Does Not Make You More Domestic
I admire those women who are able to keep perfect households where everything matches and dinner is on the table at 6. When we first got married, we needed to buy a couch. One year later, we still need to buy a couch. And Joe does all the cooking. I am, however, an exceptional take out orderer.
2. Being a Wife Does Not Make You More Medically Intelligent
You know how some women just know all these natural, home remedies for how to fix everything? They can cure fevers and soothe upset stomachs with nothing but a nail file and a half a lemon. (I don’t know if that’s what they actually use, I told you I’m not one of them!) My husband once suffered a sneezing fit, and I treated it like the hiccups.
“Hold still, and I’ll come out and SCARE you!”
3. Some Decor Ideas Do Not Find Compromise
You know that scene in When Harry Met Sally where Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher are arguing over whether or not a wagonwheel coffee table goes in the living room or not. Well, I’m Carrie Fisher in that scenario, and it doesn’t.
4. All Those Times You Blamed Your Roommate, It Was in Fact Your Spouse
If you and your spouse ever shared living quarters with a roommate, you may have bonded over a mutual frustration with said roommate’s bad habits. Now that said roommate is gone, you may have discovered your spouse has extremely similar bad habits as your roommate once did. What are the odds?
5. Date Night is Still a Thing
You may think by “putting a ring on it,” you’re work is over. The reverse is true. Married life requires more creativity, more compassion, and more commitment. And this is where I publicly thank Joe for creating the #Appetour date night – wherein we hop from stop to stop in town and enjoy a drink and/or appetizer, maybe some live music, and then head to the next place.
Side note* If your spouse leaves you to play on stage, they pay for the next round. It’s not technically in our vows, but now I’ve got witnesses.
So thank you, Joe, for that last date night. It was most enjoyable.
What are some lessons about love you’ve learned, whether married or not?
Do you think we’ve earned our paper anniversary?
Maybe I’ll print this post out and put it in an envelope for Joe. ❤
And, you can relive the magic from Our Big Fat Secret Greek Wedding.
Or hear us sing “Home” from our stateside ceremony below. Enjoy!
Recalculating: Our Overnight Hotel Stay at the Don Q Inn
When your husband offers to take you on a road trip for the weekend, you say yes.
At least that’s what I did. After all, weekends where the two of us aren’t working are rare. He said something to me like “blah blah blah… ‘travel,’ ‘wine,’ …blah blah blah ‘bookstore’…”
I don’t know, that’s all I listened to.
We hit the road after work on Friday and stopped in a small town for book and music store perusal. We spent longer in the music store which must’ve been the “blah blah blah” part I tuned out.
But all was well when we stopped for dinner at an amazing farm to table cafe and gorged ourselves on charcuterie, fine cheeses, and prime rib.
And we checked out a winery as well.
We were unsure of what city we would stay the night in. There were a few in between our route that would have sufficed and we figured we’d just hotwire it – as in, use hotwire.com to find a cheap hotel, not actually hotwire someone else’s vehicle.
And that’s when I hit the jackpot.
Behold…the Don Q Inn!
That’s right, my little travel munchkins. I scored us a room at the Don Q Inn – Fantasy Suites of Your Dreams Hotel!
Joe was quite impressed with my knowledge and know-how of working the internet to find the most bizarre place for us to stay the night.
Let’s discuss the available amenities at the Don Q Inn, shall we?
If you’re in the mood to wander a retired Boeing C-97 airplane that once flew in the Korean War and once was used in a car commercial with none other than Farrah Fawcett, you’re in luck!
The Don Q Inn has just such an airplane!
And let’s face it, it makes the hotel incredibly easy to find from the road.
Climb aboard and experience what years of abandonment and hopscotch patterns of bird poo smell like! Admittance is FREE!
The Don Q Inn offers rooms designed to fill your deepest fantasies. Want to sleep in Sherwood Forest? You can! Rent a room with the bed nestled between real tree trunks!
Wondered what it’d be like to sleep in a hot air balloon? You can! Complete with accompanying cd of sound effects!
Perhaps you’re a traditionalist and want a heart shaped bed from Cupid. There’s a room for you too!
Extra bonus – many rooms come with their own whirlpool made out of copper cheese vats! Sure to impress your lover.
Standard rooms are available, each with their own eccentricities. Ours for example, had carpet on the walls and a giant cupboard that wouldn’t open where I think the zombies live.
Because we booked on hotwire, we didn’t get a fantasy room, but Joe – if you’re reading this – we have an anniversary coming up, and I think you know what I want. 😉
Act fast and book your fantasy suite now! (Inquiring minds always want to know what you’d pick, so do share your favorite room theme in the comments! Or better yet, design your own! … Though, how will you top personal cheese vats?)
If, like us, you only have a short while to stay, may I suggest exploring the interior of the hotel.
The lobby is filled with vintage furniture and board games. Relax around the fireplace drum in a pick-your-own barbershop chair!
For the more adventuresome, you can explore the hotel’s 300 foot underground tunnel.
There are few things more romantic than a long musty walk through an unmarked, underground, low-lit, damp tunnel.
I like to outdo myself though, so I recited some of my favorite motivational quotes to Joe. You might know this one by Gollum.
“We’ll takes ’em to the tunnel, Precious. She can do it. She’s always hungry. She always needs to feed.”
It was a delightful surprise to learn that the tunnel, in fact, leads to a bar!
Our last minute stay at the exotic Don Q Inn was all too brief. The staff was very kind and helpful. And there’s clearly more to explore here. I for one, would go back.
What would you explore first? The fantasuite? The plane? The tunnel?
Meet me in the bar and tell all! 😉
Happy traveling, road trippers!
A Wife Discovers Star Trek: Live Long and Silent?
It was Friday afternoon and I had just returned home from work to find my husband settled in the arm chair watching reruns of Star Trek on TV. I’ve seen a few of the movies, but had never watched the television series before.
“Scoot over,” I said, and snuggled in, ready to start my weekend and find out what all of the fuss was about.
I think maybe I watched the wrong first episode?
The title of the show was ‘The Empath’. Our trio of explorers, Captain Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are zapped onto an unknown planet with alien men whose heads, to me, looked like giant ears.
Along for the ride, was a humanoid empath, who cannot speak but can heal the injuries of others. She can also rock a neon blue leotard covered in cloth made of butterfly tears.
Throughout the episode, Kirk and McCoy are tortured by the f(ear)less aliens using rainbow beams that shoot from gadgets similar to the good ol’ Viewmaster.
They are always returned to the holding cell on the brink of death, forcing the empath to heal them.
And this is where I got a little irritated.
Running her acrylic nailed hands over their faces, soothing their furrowed brows, and rubbing their shoulders and chests, the empath healed our heroes. And she did all of it with this look on her face. “Wait a minute. You’re telling me these guys are teamed up with a woman who CAN’T TALK and MASSAGES them all day?!! Well you can tell a man wrote this episode.”
My husband looked at me, annoyed. Probably wishing he’d married one of those humanoid empath wives. You know, the ones who can’t talk and massage their men with manicured hands.
“When you’re ready to get off your high horse,” he said, “I’ll be down here drinking my coffee.”
“Look at her face. How does one even make that face?” I asked.
I tilted my head and tried looking wounded, sexy, and cosmic all at the same time.
“That’s creepy,” he replied.
“Well, I don’t see what the fuss is about this show. There’s certainly nothing of interest for the women watching it. And I mean really, that last action scene? Was he creating his own slow motion? Who runs like that?”
My husband set his coffee mug down and turned toward me again. “Is this what it’s like?” he asked.
“What what’s like?”
“When I make fun of your shows?”
I cocked my head again.
“Thank you, honey, for showing me what that feels like. Now can you please not talk anymore?”
That was the start of my weekend! How was yours?
Massage any men lately or take a vow of silence?