My Award-Winning Chili

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EASY CHILI

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans tomato soup
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika

Brown the hamburger, and then mix all the ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. We usually serve it with cooked elbow macaroni.

This is my mother-in-law’s awesome chili recipe. I love it because any recipe based on canned food is my favorite.

And yes, it actually won the church chili cook-off once. FIRST PRIZE. Although we may have cheated just a bit.

Not intentionally. Much.

But it turns out than in a vote-based competition, placement is paramount. We were chili number one on the ballot  that year, having by some miracle arrived early. Being number one in line ensures more exposure and garners more votes.

Also it doesn’t hurt to have seven people in the family to stuff the ballot box.

And now I can call this recipe “AWARD WINNING!”

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On a side note, this recipe is in a handwritten book my mother-in-law gifted me and my sisters-in-law with.

It is a real treasure for grown children to have their mothers’ and grandmothers’ recipes in handwriting form.

So I recommend this as a gift to all you grandmas out there.

And if you want to put this chili recipe in your recipe book, remember to call it AWARD WINNING.

That’s very important.

 

Now you’re just being mean

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I moved my blog here in hopes of getting more traffic and more comments.

Well, I’ve definitely gotten more comments. The problem is, they are almost all SPAM!

So I think people actually like me, but it is only a CRUEL TRICK.

It is terrible, because I got so excited today when it said “3 NEW COMMENTS” and then I clicked on it and the comments are:

#1. Leftover food can also, be sealed and kept in these, to keep the aroma and taste intact, as the moisture and oxygen cannot penetrate through it and always keep a gap of at least 3 inches, from the main food product, in order, to keep the sealing of the food stable.

#2. You should try this company for getting more traffic: http://gmbal.com/079x – I use it on all of my blogs and I am very happy. This service will get you targeted website visitors with no effort on your part. Thank me later!

 #3. Probably Philadelphia, too. I suspect that Chris Ivory is a better runner than Bilal Powell, but Powell is starting and is largely undrafted. Ivory sometimes is a fifth-round fantasy pick. Powell also is the primary goal-line runner given the Jets plan to use the wildcat in short yardage (hes the quarterback in that set).

WHAT?!

I mean, #2 I get; that’s a straightforward sales pitch. But the others? Who exactly are you people targeting?

And it’s just mean to get my hopes up that people are actually reading and liking my blog, when you only want to say some random thing about FOOD STORAGE!!!

A blonde woman is shouting forward with both of her hands tied with a coil of rope. She is sitting atop a railway line. Above the woman the words "Taylor Swift" and "Mean" are written in grey color. Next to her is a man with a handlebar moustache wearing a black top hat. He is standing astride with an open clasp and his eyes are looking towards the woman.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mean_(song)

Bad spammers. BAD!!!

Like Taylor Swift said…

All you are is MEAN.

 

You’re turning me into a freak

I’m starting to put the library books I’m reading into ziploc bags.

Why? you ask?

What kind of a freak does that? you ask?

Alistair in Outer Space

Well, the quirky hero of the kids’ book “Alistair in Outer Space” did something similar.

This is a story about a nerdy kid who store his shows in plastic bags and always washes his hands before reading library books. And he gets abducted by aliens.

But I digress.

(image from barnesandnoble.com)

The problem for me is, recently the library has accused me TWICE of inflicting “water damage” on books I have returned, and wanting to charge me $2 for it.

We are not talking books dropped in the bathtub or otherwise rendered unreadable. We are talking about small water droplets on a page or two that may have been there when I checked the book out. Or that may have dropped on the book while I was reading it.

Not that I can prove it one way or the other.

But my point is: The book is still FINE. You can read it. All the pages are there. It’s not brand-new any more, granted, but why should it be?

It’s not a new book. People have read it. It’s a LIBRARY BOOK.

Now I’ve had my troubles with the library in the past. (Click here if you want to read about it.) And I really don’t want to get on their bad side. They have bouncers.

And it is only two bucks.

But STILL!! Where will this end?

Must I photograph each book when I check it out? Must I read only in a hermetically sealed room? Must I scream NO DON’T TOUCH ME!!!! when my kids come near me and I am reading?

Anyways, I’m trying the ziploc bag thing. And then we’ll see.

My new living room rug

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I bought a new rug for the living room. Doesn’t it look nice?

It was on clearance. Really.

My husband came home and I proudly showed him the new rug. (I also mentioned the low price of course. Twice.)

He walked over and examined it. Then he patted it and said, “I’m sorry.”

I said, “WHAT? Why are you apologizing to a rug?! Because it had the bad luck to be bought by ME?!”

He shrugged and nodded a little. “Well,” he added. “You know that everything in our house gets destroyed.”

The sad thing is, I can’t even argue with that.

Moms are so embarrassing!

Everyone has a story about being embarrassed by their mother when they were younger. Some are worse than others, of course.

(For a story about how I embarrassed my own teenager click here.)

My personal embarrassing memories are pretty tame.

For example, I was extremely mortified by my mother when I was in junior high school because she would drop me off RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE MALL instead of hiding down the street like any respectable parent should, thus exposing to the world that I, in fact, was reliant on parents for transportation and not a fully independent unit at the ripe age of 13.

Obviously, I was a dumb spoiled kid. Don’t even get me started on the time my grandma picked me up from school and actually WAVED from her car. Where people could SEE her! Shudder.

Anyways, like I said, my embarrassment was not so bad.

But I have a friend who was in seventh grade when her mother announced to everyone they knew, “My little girl is a Woman now!”

She says she still hasn’t forgiven her mom for that one.

But I think the kid that wins Most Embarrassing Mom, hands-down, is this one:

Image from Time via USA Today

You remember this mother and son from Time magazine a couple of years ago?

This kid should be, what, in kindergarten or first grade now? Imagine when he gets to middle school.

Shudder.

Crockpot Lasagna

Photo_34D29915-8520-095C-0AB0-78DC7897520CThis recipe that I got from “Simple and Delicious” magazine turned out pretty well.

(Here’s the link to their website but you have to have a subscription to look at the actual recipes.)

I’ll warn you that I am the inaccuracy and substitution QUEEN when it comes to recipes, however.

First of all, Here’s the original recipe in bold:

Spinach Alfredo Lasagna
•1 pound ground beef
•1 medium onion, chopped
•2 garlic cloves, minced
•1 jar (24 ounces) spaghetti sauce
•1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
•1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
•2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
•1/2 teaspoon pepper
•1 package (8 ounces) no-cook lasagna noodles
•8 cups (32 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
•1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
•1 jar (15 ounces) Alfredo sauce

  • In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce.

Okay, so I mostly followed the first step, except I heated up some leftover meat sauce we had from spaghetti the day before and just added a big can of Hunt’s spaghetti sauce to it.

Okay, so I didn’t really follow the first step.

  •    In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley and pepper. Spread 1 cup meat mixture onto the bottom of an ungreased 5- or 6-qt. slow cooker. Arrange four noodles over sauce, breaking noodles to fit if necessary; layer with half of the ricotta mixture, 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1 cup meat mixture.

This part I did according to the recipe. Although making those rectangular noodles fit into the round crock pot? It requires a little more than “breaking to fit.” I felt like I should get out an X-Acto knife. It was messy; I won’t lie.

  •    Top with four noodles, spinach, Alfredo sauce and 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Continue layering with four noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1 cup meat mixture. Add any remaining noodles; top with remaining meat mixture and mozzarella cheese.

I have to say, this is the most interesting part of the recipe. Adding Alfredo sauce AND regular red spaghetti sauce? Amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it!

Maybe I need to get out more.

  •    Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until noodles are tender.

Well, even I couldn’t mess up that last step.

I was surprised this recipe came out as well as it did. Everyone ate it and it actually resembled real lasagna, unlike most crockpot recipes, which are just noodles and sauce and cheese in a jumble.

Plus nobody complained about the spinach, since its annoying healthiness was tempered by the yummy Alfredo sauce.

This picture is just to show you how pretty the food can look when not made or photographed by me.

A Major Milestone

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I would like for everyone to celebrate with me, as I passed a major parenting milestone this summer.

…wait for it….

EVERYONE CAN PUT ON THEIR OWN SEAT BELTS IN THE CAR NOW!!!!!!!!!

Can you believe it?

Now, to those of you who don’t have little kids, or have forgotten what it’s like to have little kids:

This is a big deal.

I have spent SEVENTEEN YEARS buckling people into car seats, kneeling on crumb-covered carpets and upholstery, handling sticky buckles and straps, maneuvering past struggling arms and legs. BUT NO MORE!!!

Now I sit calmly in the driver’s seat of the van and I say cheerily, “Buckle up!” and they ACTUALLY DO IT!

HOORAY!

Baking for the Lazy

Or, My Very Favorite Cookies, HOORAY!

At the commissary I saw they had Hershey’s Kisses on clearance for 99 cents.

Okay, I’ll admit, they were in red and green wrappers, and Christmas was about nine months ago, but still…

NINETY-NINE CENT KISSES!!!!

I could not pass that up. Come on to town, Santa! I’ll take chocolate anytime!

To further celebrate, I bought peanut butter cookie dough in the dairy section so that I could make:

THE (DELICIOUSLY) EASIEST COOKIES ON EARTH!!

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(Yes, I know this picture is terrible. That’s why this is a HUMOR blog, and not a cooking blog. Or a photography one, for that matter.)

Trash Day Tragedy

One Tuesday morning, I was calmly brushing my teeth when I heard a rumbling noise outside.

Hmm, I thought. That sounds like a the trash truck. Good thing I put the trash out last night.

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Then I thought, Wait, DID I put the trash out last night?

I remember INTENDING to put the trash out.

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But when I first thought of the trash, it was raining out. “I’ll do it later,” I told myself.

I remembered again after dinner. ‘I’ll do it after I finish the dishes,” I told myself.

The next time I remembered, I was already in bed. “I’ll do it in the morning,” I told myself.

GAH!!!! I realized. IT’S MORNING NOW!!!!

I ran downstairs and flew out the front door… in time to see the trash truck disappearing down the street.

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I know they saw me chasing them.

I can’t imagine why they didn’t stop…