Monday, July 15, 2013

GF PB Banana CC Bars & A Fake Lobster

You're not gonna believe what I did tonight.

I baked.

It's over 90 degrees outside. It's probably just as hot in the house, but oddly enough, it's not phasing me. At all! In fact, I turned on the oven and baked tonight.

Baked.

I NEVER bake. EVER! But there were overripe bananas in my kitchen and I couldn't bring myself to throw them away so I hunted down a recipe and went to work.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Bars

1 package Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1 egg
2 bananas
1/4 cup peanut butter

Mix the egg, bananas and peanut butter with an electric mixer. Add the Cookie Mix and continue to beat until it's blended. Pour into a 9x9-inch pan. I used my Pampered Chef stoneware baker lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

The texture is like a dense muffin. Or a thick banana bread. It's super yummy though!! It got a Seal-of-Approval from Drew's Stomach.

*  *  *  *  *

Then after being all Betty Crockery, I decided to make some cards. This design is based on one we made at a workshop.



Mmm. Lobstah. Nom  nom nom.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Crock Pot Lasagna

Did you know you can cook lasagna in a crock pot? Yes, you can. No seriously, you can. I'm telling you...ARGH!!! YOU CAN!!!

How? Easy. Make lasagna...in a crock pot.

The secret? There is no secret. You just make a standard lasagna recipe and you make it...in a crock pot.

No, I'm not kidding! Why would I kid about that? I see no comical value in pretending you can make lasagna in a crock pot but you can't! Oh, you know what? I can. Just substitute M-80s for the noodles. Har-dee-har-har.

Oh my God, I *bleeping* hate you. Just try it.


Crock Pot Lasagna

1 box lasagna noodles, uncooked, broken into pieces, any size, don't matter, stop worrying about it
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1# hamburger, cooked & crumbled
1# Italian sausage, cooked & crumbled
16 oz brick mozzarella cheese, sliced up, you know, kinda thinish???
15 oz ricotta cheese (Yeah, I know. 15? That's the size of the container. Shhhtupid.)
1 egg
Italian seasoning
Parmesan cheese

Mix the ricotta cheese and egg together in a bowl. Every recipe will tell you to wipe down or spray the inside of the crock pot with oil. I'm telling you right now --- it's not going to make a bit of difference. Crock pots aren't that hard to clean up anyway. If yours is you should probably get a new crock pot because there's something wrong with it. Not "dark side of the force" wrong. Most likely it's older than the dirt it was made from. And get yourself tested for asbestos and lead paint poisoning while you're at it. Just in case. Meanwhile, I'm calling A&E to see if Hoarders is accepting applications. Do you want me to use your real name or a pseudonym?

1. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of the crock pot. Use at least a 5-quart crock pot.
2. Sprinkle Italian seasoning on top. If you have to measure, um, how about 1/4 tsp. Sounds good? Good.
3. Add a layer of noodles. (You don't have to get too anal about this.)
4. Add 1/2 the hamburger.
5. Add 1/2 the ricotta cheese mixture. (Good luck spreading that on top of hamburger! Ha!)
6. Add 1/2 the sausage.
7. Add 1/2 the mozzarella.
8. Drizzle 1 cup of sauce on top.
9. Sprinkle more Italian seasoning on.
10. Add another layer of noodles. (Again, avoid being anal, if possible.)
11. Add the other 1/2 of hamburger.
12. Add the other 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture. (Oh, give up and drop it in by the spoonful.)
13. Add the other 1/2 of the sausage.
14. Add the other 1/2 of the mozzarella.
15. Drizzle 1 cup of sauce on top.
16. More Italian seasoning.
17. Add a final layer of noodles. (I would tell you that anal is not the way to go, but people will see this layer. So do it anally. It will make other women jealous because they think their guys will be impressed by what you do that they won't. They will think theirs isn't good enough and now they have to be anal too. Honestly, most men I know aren't really into that. Rarely will being anal on top get you an honest high five from a dude. Probably just a shrug along with a mumble about it not being worth the effort when all he wants to do is get in there and eat it. Sloppy or not.) (By the way, I'm still talking about lasagna. You perverts.)
18. The rest of the sauce. I have no idea how much is left. 1/2 cup? 1 cup? If it doesn't look like enough, then open another jar or something. I don't know. You're not negotiating peace in the Middle East. It's just freakin' lasagna.
19. More Italian seasoning? Why not.
20. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top to cover up the fact that you botched #17 horribly. I mean, come on! How hard is it to lay some hard, stiff noodle?

Cook on Low for 3 hours. Do NOT cook more than 3 hours. Of that, I am very serious about. The noodles will turn to farkin' mush. In fact, I would suggest you turn the crock pot off after 2-1/2 hours and just let it sit. That crock pot will stay warm for three days anyway.

MY NOTES
Lasagna Noodles - You have to trust me on this one. Don't cook them. There's no need to cook noodles for any standard lasagna recipe. There's more than enough moisture in lasagna to cook the noodles for you! Also, if you don't use the whole box, don't freak out. I never do. I usually use about 2/3. No one eats lasagna for the noodles anyway. If they do, save yourself time and money and just make them ziti. They don't deserve lasagna.
Spaghetti Sauce - I'm uber-picky about my spaghetti sauce. When I was a kid I ONLY ate my mother's homemade sauce. I think it might be because she put big pieces of Italian sausage in it. Nom nom nom!!! I've found that Wegman's brand sauces are excellent though. For lasagna I use their cheaper line. Their $0.99 Tomato & Basil is perfect for this recipe.
Italian sausage - If you don't like sausage, just leave it out. Personally, I love a meaty lasagna! (That sounds almost as pornographic as the noises I make while eating a meaty lasagna.)
Mozzarella cheese - BUY THE BRICK AND CUT IT UP! IT'S NOT THAT HARD! If you're going to use shredded mozzarella then just skip it completely. Shredded mozzarella disintegrates when used in lasagna. And don't bother arguing with me about this. You're not going to change my mind. 
Ricotta cheese - I know it's a pain to try and spread it. I used to put it in a ziplock baggie and cut the corner to spread it. Like cake frosting. It's effective but can be messy. Especially if you have the same lack of cooking skills and grace that I do. Just do your best. It honestly doesn't matter. I think ricotta is about 50% water and it's just going to smoosh around where it damn well pleases anyway.
Parmesan cheese - Sometimes I get crazy and mix a 1/2 cup into the ricotta mixture! Yee haw! Sometimes the hubby finishes off the parmesan cheese and doesn't tell me so I don't put it on the grocery list. Sonuva--grrr.
Other stuff - This is just a basic, simple recipe. If I'm feeling frisky I will add sauteed onions and garlic. Sometimes I like roasted red peppers and spinach in there too. I definitely like hot Italian sausage better! (Insert obvious hot Italian sausage joke here.) But the more stuff you add increases the chances that someone won't like it or eat it. This recipe is a generic crowd-pleaser and will work 90% of the time. The other 10% should not be trusted and you should disown them immediately. In fact, you should do the patriotic thing and report them to the government as a terrorist. Or a vegan. Although I don't honestly know what the government will do with a vegan. Is there such a thing as organic, unpasteurized, free-range coconut-water boarding???

Bon appetite!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Today's Daily Affirmation: DON'T SCREW IT UP!!

WARNING: This is long and even more rambling than usual. It's also dedicated to my friend Candy because she wouldn't have wanted it any other way! (By the way, she's not dead. That kinda sounded like Candy was dead. She's not. Jeez, I'm rambling already.)

My super-bff Stacey turned 40 today and I'm not dealing with it well. It's like a reminder of my 40th birthday almost four years ago. I was miserable. I'd turned 40 and done nothing with my life. Well, nothing I wanted to do. My girlfriend Kelly slapped me upside the head and gave me a lecture. It helped. Stacey doesn't need a lecture. She's fine with it. This is why...


Stacey looks good. And she's happy. Might be because of the wine glass in her hand. Let's all go get some wine!! (By the way, no, that's not me in the middle. That's a cardboard cow-creature at Buttonwood Winery. Love that winery! Oh, that's my hubby Sparky on the right. He's always happy.)

Most of my readers are well aware of my self-defeatist attitude, my stupidity and low self-esteem. I've blogged about it several times. If we're all lucky, it'll be funny too. It's good to be able to laugh at yourself. Especially when you're being an idiot. The problem is that it's not always a healthy thing to do. The best thing to do is not be an idiot to begin with.

Does everyone here know Jason? He's my buddy, co-worker, fellow Leo, and twin baby brother who, just to be obnoxious, was born years after me and from a completely different womb. Of course this hasn't stopped my mother from liking him more than me. I'm surprised she hasn't started calling me by his name. "Jason...Amy...Cat...You...You know who you are. Open this jar for me." 

Where was I? Oh yeah, Jason was just talking about The Greater Fool on his blog. Everything in life is a choice. Sometimes you have no control over the outcome; sometimes you do. But you always have control over your attitude about it. Just as important is the attitude you have going into that choice. You can make a choice with the attitude that you're a winner regardless of the outcome. Or you can do what I usually do, which is make a choice, cross my fingers, and pray nothing goes wrong with the car today. (I pray for that everyday. That's a given even if I'm not driving the car.)

At least that's how I read Jason's blog. I'm sure at work tomorrow he'll say to me, "That's got nothing to do with it!" And I'll say, "Shut up and move on shorty." Because in my life I choose him to be 3' tall.

I got sidetracked again. Crap.

In an effort to keep focused on what I want my priorities in life to be and to keep me upbeat about them, I've surrounded myself at home with items that are reminders of the choices I should be making and the attitude I should have about them and my life in general. 

First up...the Holstee Manifesto...


I have this poster framed and next to my desk. I can look up at any time and see it. It's really what all my priorities in life should be.

Second up...Murder at Heart Lake...


This is a photo by one of my co-workers and guitarist for local band Johnny Bender - Mike Bruton. The first time I saw that picture I said to Mike, "I want to make that a book cover!" He was jazzed about it until I told him it's a book about the dead body in the lake. I don't think that was the point of the picture, but I'm telling you...THERE'S A DEAD BODY IN THAT LAKE!! Because of my fascination with it to be a book cover, Drew bought the picture for me when Mike took part in an exhibition at the Seward House. We had it framed in the appropriate dramatic greys & blacks, and it hangs near my desk to remind me...THERE'S A DEAD BODY IN THAT LAKE!! I will write that book. While you're waiting, check out Mike's photography HERE.

Finally, I have all kinds of knick-knacks on my desk. 
  • A flask from Kate that says, "I'm A F*cking Lady" on it. It reminds me that I'm not and I never will be and that's ok. Because I have a flask!
  • I have a wooden book box that Stacey decorated for me that says, "Murder With Merlot: A Wine Trail Murder Mystery by Stephanie K. Deal" on it. Another reminder that I want to start writing my Finger Lakes Wine Trail Murder series. 
  • I have a colorful voodoo doll key fob that I bought from Covent Market in London. It reminds me that this isn't all there is. There's a huge world out there with over 7 billion people in it. And it's fascinating!! If I don't like the space ten feet around me, just walk. That's all. Just walk. There are other spaces! There are other people! Most quite lovely! I don't have to let the assholes bother me.

So, today's goals are very simple. Don't let unimportant things, people and ideals occupy the space in my brain. Seems easy huh? 

Note to self: Don't screw it up. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Adventures of Butterball: Beyond Blubberdome Is Over!

* The Adventures of Butterball are true stories about my *
* trials and tribulations as a stupid fat girl.  Enjoy! *

It's July 5th, which means the...

Beyond Blubberdome: 
Butterball vs Temporarily Fat Jason 
Weight Loss Challenge eXXXtreme

...is over. And the winner (to no one's surprise) is JASON!!! He had a loss. I don't think I did. I don't actually have the numbers in front of me.

The challenge started off well. I didn't have any great loss at any time, but I was exercising and trying. Eventually due to health issues and just general laziness, we each kind of gave up. That about sums up everyone and everything around here. But hey! We were entertaining for a little while.

I suggested to Jason that perhaps the next challenge should only be two weeks long. He said the winner of that would just need to figure out how to have the best bowel movements. Honestly? It would probably be more entertaining that way too. Admit it! You all like poop jokes!

Anyway, to Jason...

Here's your high five...