Apparently, This Summer Wasn’t My First Back Pain Rodeo…Or Why I’m a Velociraptor

Guys, you’re not going to believe this (well…yes you will…), but I hurt my back again. And this time, it was much less exciting than showing off doing fancy yoga.

Yesterday morning, I was reaching down to pull on my underwear. An activity I participate in daily. When BAM! I felt the tightness pull, and I knew my back was done for. I’m trying to champ through it, but fuck, it hurts.

image

This is my whiny face because it feels more comfortable to stand on the train than sit.


I was looking back at old blog posts on one of my other blogs, and I found a little gem that reminded me of a recent-ish back issue from a couple years back.

OK, so one morning a couple of years ago, I woke up with this excruciating back pain. It got progressively worse as the day went on. By that night, I was walking like a velociraptor.  I ended up lying on couches the whole day. I don’t think it helped the situation.

Apparently it feels more comfortable to sit in a V-like position with this horrible back pain…so when I get up I walked a bit like a velociraptor.

When we got home late one night, back when we lived in the apartment, I went straight to bed. But I could hear Brian crunching. And crunching. The TV was low, so I couldn’t hear that. but I heard crunching. And I knew that he was eating the queso. Obviously, I couldn’t let him eat all of the chips and queso…and my tummy kept growling at me, saying, “Hey dummy, he’s going to eat all of that queso…and you’re going to be lying here all in pain thinking I wish I had some queso…and it will be gone.” So I crawled out of bed, threw on a robe, and stalked out to the living room to join my boyfriend in a late night chips and queso snack. (Tostitos Lime and Medium Salsa con Queso make me happy. I wish I had some now. I would be way happier.)

The next morning, I had hoped the pain would be better…but alas, I was stuck in bed with no more queso.

While lying in bed that morning, I started thinking about all of my previous back injuries…

The time I thought that pillow sliding down the stairs head first on my back was a great idea.

The time I fell down the stairs at Second Thanksgiving and gave myself a hematoma on my ass…oh wait, that wasn’t a back injury…It was just really funny.

The time I toppled down the stairs and my head landed a half an inch from the wall, at midnight, and my mom thought I was drunk, but really, my socks just slipped on the carpet…and I could have broken my neck if I had fallen a half an inch farther. And then I got these giant kinks in my lower back that never really went away…

The time that I was cheering in high school and I was back spotting…and the girl in the air fell on me, and I fell back first on the gym floor…and my back hurt for months afterward.

Fuck. I fall down a lot. Maybe that’s why I hurt myself bending over to pull on underwear, now.

Have you ever hurt your back? What’s the craziest injury you’ve ever experienced? What would you give for a chips and queso snack right now?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Hostess’ Guide to the Holiday Madness

Little-known fact: June Cleaver, Martha Stewart, and I swap notes.

I may be a terrible housewife, but I’m a master of feeding people and throwing baller parties. Last year, after moving into our house, we hosted a killer game-themed housewarming party for nearly 60, Second Thanksgiving for 15, Christmas Day for 30, and a small New Year’s Eve with family. This year we hosted a birthday party for 30, Halloween party for 40, and are planning another Christmas Day extravaganza in addition to game nights and dinners throughout the year. I’ve become skilled in the art of hosting parties.

I’ve put together this convenient,  easy-to-follow guide for hosting parties, which is sure to make your holiday merry and bright, your birthday magical and special, and your perfect little dinner party a night to remember.

The hostess' guide to handling holiday madness

2 Months Out

1. Pick a date. This may be easy if you’re hosting on a specific holiday, but with families freaking everywhere, you may host Christmas on the 20th or the 31st. I won’t judge. You do you.

  1. Delay. Put off most of the planning as long as you can. Spend time pinning shit to your Pinterest board, knowing you’re never actually going to do any of that nonsense. Late invites are likely to shrink the number of people who show up.

1 Month Out

3. Start inviting people. Use multiple modes of communication to make it as confusing and hard to track as you can. For extra planning points, recruit your partner/boyfriend/spouse/person/fiancée(God, that word is WEIRD) to invite his family or friends you don’t follow on Facebook. You already know you’re screwed.

2 Weeks Out

4. Secure RSVPs. Wait for no one to respond,  and then start the second round of messaging. Texts, calls, private messages, tags, etc. Leave no communication stone unturned. Just don’t add them to your Jamberry Group.

5. Meal plan. Decide what you’re going to feed all these people you’ve invited to your home. Dole out responsibilities and assignments if you’re potlucking. Get as creative or unoriginal as you want. You’re hosting this fiesta.

6. Start writing to-do lists. Put together a shopping list for groceries, a DIY list for crafty shit you want to do, a cleaning list for your boyfriend/partner/husband to follow while you’re at work or the grocery store (saving him from all the people). You can use Google Drive, a pen and paper, a blank Word document or some fancy pants list you downloaded from a way more organized blogger than me. Me? I have lists everywhere. In e-mail drafts, in notebooks, and on the back of random papers from work. I typically forget them all by the time I head to the grocery store or start cleaning.

7. Decorate your home. Get your holiday decor up whether you’re putting up Christmas tree in every room, creating a disgusting murder scene in the bath tub, or setting up a spider’s den in your bathroom. If it’s not a holiday, make sure you’ve got all your art hung, ordered the right colored table cloth from Amazon, planned for balloons and other decorative touches.

Just hope and pray the balloons don't end up in the updraft of your ceiling fan.

Just hope and pray the balloons don’t end up in the updraft of your ceiling fan.

1 Week Out

8. Keep texting and calling people. We all know half your guest list isn’t going to respond. That’s okay, you love me them anyways.

9. Write new to-do lists. Don’t tell me you know where the originals are. I know you’re lying. Go ahead and make new ones. Even if you forgot the original items on the list, you’ll think of new ones.

10. Start those crafty projects you said you were going to do.  You want to make special scrabble Christmas ornaments for everyone at your holiday party? You know what? Fuck it. Just go to the store and buy some cookies. Then, eat the cookies. Then, continue on with the rest of this list. You don’t need that kind of stress in your life right now.

5 Days Out

11. Shop. Try to get as much grocery shopping out of the way as you can. Stock up on beer, wine, pop, snacks (you’ll need these later), and cream cheese (this is the only necessity with party apps. You can mix anything with cream cheese for a magical creation sure to impress every guest). Hold off on anything you think should be fresh, such as fruit or veggies. No one wants stinky cauliflower.

3 Days Out

12. Procrastinate. It’s time to start heavy duty lifting and really get your ass in gear. But you DEFINITELY need a break first. Perhaps you’ll watch  Kimmy Schmidt or Liz Lemon on Netflix to get you in the spirit of whatever event you’re hosting. There’s a little Kimmy or Liz for everyone, guys.  Pop open one of the bags of chips you were reserving for your event, eat candy for dinner from Dylan’s Candy Bar (OMG) and work on your night cheese. The party is happening whether your floor boards are dusted or not.

1 Day Out

13. Start cleaning. Spend a little time casually wiping counters, cleaning out your fridge, rearranging your collection of board games, video games, movies, CDs, whatever, moving piles from one room to another in an effort to clean. You still have 28 hours before this party is in full gear.

14. Prep as much food as you can. It’s time to make magic happen with the cream cheese, folks. Whip up a few dips while your boyfriend vacuums the floor with your fancy pants Shark vacuum. Cut veggies. Arrange fruit displays. For the love of all things, DO NOT CUT THE CHEESE YET. That is a last-minute priority in order to ensure the best possible cheese flavors.

Prepare your veggie crudite the night before to save time for your uber panic when hosting a party.

Prepare your veggie crudite the night before to save time for your uber panic when hosting a party.

Day of the Party

15. Freak out. You’re not ready. Your house is certainly not ready. You haven’t showered since your Liz Lemon marathon and it’s REALLY time to move it. You know nothing helps a situation more than a serious panic attack. Get ready for it. It’s coming.

16. Quick Clean. You don’t have time to clean the way you want, so start throwing everything out of sight. Throw shoes down into the basement, hide baskets of mail under your buffet table (See why I told you to invest in that floor length table cloth on Amazon, now?), take stakes of clothing/clutter/whatever up to your bedroom or the guest room or the office. Just get it out of here, already.

17. Finish food. Whip together as much of the food as you can before you have to start cleaning up the kitchen. The cheese should be cut about 30 minutes before guests arrive (and you shouldn’t let it sit out for more than four hours, so plan for a second batch if it’s a long party.

Put the cheese out about 30 minutes before the start of a party in order to have the best tasting cheese (room temperature).

18. Beg for reinforcements. Hope and pray you have parents like I do who show up 45 minutes before a party to help with this process. Sure, you won’t remember that your mom threw your keys in the cabinet with the canned goods, but no one else saw them cluttering up your breakfast bar, amiright?

Game Time

19. Relax. Breath a sigh of relief and pour your first of many glasses of wine/champagne/beer/vodka/whatever. Give yourself a pat on the back for only crying three times instead of five like last time. You’re getting better at this game.

Friends, how do you handle the stress of hosting parties? Are you a killer host? What do you try to do whenever you host an event? Tell me your secrets before I pull all my hair out!

This post is brought to you by the fine people at Netflix, without whom I may never procrastinate. While I wasn’t paid in dollars to create this blog post, I did receive a subscription to Netflix and a device on which to watch my favorite shows (hello Liz Lemon – I love you!). As always, you get my opinions and ideas, which I was not paid to change. Obviously.

Netflix Stream Team

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Karma Chameleon

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of AmazingKarma.com. All opinions are 100% mine.

I believe in karma.

Growing up, my mom would always tell me, “What goes around, comes around.” I try incredibly hard to adhere to that standard and treat others as I wish to be treated. As a general rule, I want to be treated with respect, love and understanding…and I want to show people how to enjoy life the way I enjoy life.

7 Easy Ways to Boost Your Karma

7 Ways to Boost Your Karma – Quirky Chrissy Style

  • Feed people when they come to your home; it’s best to give them something with cheese in it.
  • Wear brightly colored pants to give passersby something to talk about.
  • Ask if someone is okay when they fall down before laughing.
  • Make your public conversations as interesting as possible for people listening to what you say.
  • Fall down to make others laugh, especially if they’ve recently fallen down.
  • Bring shareable snacks to work.
  • Send adorable pictures of animals, babies and memes to make someone smile.

So basically, feed people and make them laugh = karma win.

In all seriousness, guys, I do actually try to do my part in this world in real, tangible ways. BUT…when I do something others might consider charity, I’ve recently been trying to keep that to myself because I don’t want to brag about it. I know in my heart that I’ve done something nice for someone else, and that’s all I need.

Of course, you know how I love games…and when I discovered Amazing Karma had turned the idea of “What goes around, comes around” into a game, I was intrigued. I started looking into this idea and thought it was a fun way to acknowledge people who do amazing things for you with the green karma cards. (And when people aren’t super awesome, you can acknowledge their negative karma with the red karma cards). Obviously, I jumped on the bandwagon and ordered a set of these cards, and I’m looking forward to sharing them in November.

Right now, Amazing Karma Gives away 200K Free Karma Cards so you can play the game of karma and watch as your karma is passed around to others and registered on the site. As people register and pass karma around, you earn points to donate money to a charity of your choice.

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Do you believe in Karma? What are some things you do to boost your karma in the world?

Visit Sponsors Site

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Jalapeno Cheetos Mozzarella Sticks – Because Everyone Should Try Something Crazy at Least Once

Sometimes, Brian sends me an animated gif of some magic foodie creation he wishes me to make a reality.  Many times, I just laugh it off, and tell him he has two hands so he can make that shit himself (for the last time, BRIAN, I am not making a fucking turducken). But sometimes, like that one time I made an ice cream sandwich cake, I realize he’s discovered gold, and I should go help haul that shit home.

Other times, I look at the project potential and think, I like all those things. That gif is a magical creation sent to the Internet by God, himself. I will make that delicious feast. Such as what happened with Brian’s ice cream cake a few years ago. It’s also what happened when he sent me a gif featuring Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mozzarella Sticks. Of course, I wasn’t in the mood for the fiery red poops that go along with Flamin’ Hots (come on, you know that happens…) when I decided to surprise Brian with homemade mozz sticks. So I opted for the less flamin’, still kickin’ Cheddar Jalapeno Crunchy Cheetos. Second only to Puffs, these delicious beasts are amazing solo…and pretty damn delish when paired with more cheese.

Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos add just a hint of kick and added flavor to homemade mozzarella sticks

Cheetos mozzarella sticks ingredients

  • 2 cups crushed crunchy Cheetos (any flavor)
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 sticks of string cheese, cut in half
  • 1 small bowl of flour
  • frying oil

Prep and cooking process

Step 1: Set out your breading station. You’ll coat the sticks with flour first, then egg, and finally the Cheetos.

Set out your breading station. You'll coat the sticks with flour first, then egg, and finally the Cheetos.

Step 2: Begin by coating a stick with flour. Make sure to cover the entire cheese stick.

Begin by coating a stick with flour. Make sure to cover the entire cheese stick.

Step 3: Cover the floured stick with egg, ensuring you’ve completely coated the flour with egg.

Cover the floured stick with egg, ensuring you've completely coated the flour with egg.

Step 4: Quickly toss the egged cheese stick in the crushed Cheetos, making sure to cover every open space so the cheese doesn’t fall out (if it does, it’ll still taste pretty good though…let’s be honest here – you’ve seen my photo).

[There was no way in hell I was taking a photo after my fingers were all eggy and Cheeto-y.]

Step 5: Freeze for several hours. I made them in the morning, put them on a pan (Oh – and before you get started, make sure your pan will fit in your freezer. The pan fit in my freezer, but not Mom’s which is where we ultimately cooked these bad boys up-mostly so we didn’t eat 8 stick of cheese each), and froze them for about 8 hours.

Freeze cheese sticks for several hours.

Step 6: Heat a pan 1/3 or 1/2 filled with frying oil or start your deep fryer. We’re not super fancy, so we just opted for a pan with oil. Mama Bear has specialty frying oil, though, so bonus!
Cook the Cheetos Mozz Sticks in a deep pan filled 1/3 or 1/2 way with hot oil. Cook until the sticks are floating - and try to get them out before the cheese falls out.

Step 7: Cook until the sticks are floating – and try to get them out before the cheese falls out (something we failed to manage because we were fighting over who would get to take them out of the pan. Ultimately, I won that battle, just a minute or two too late).

Step 8: Place on wax paper to soak up the grease, because we learned the hard way the cheese will stick to paper towels.

Place on wax paper to soak up the grease, because we learned the hard way the cheese will stick to paper towels.

Overall review of Cheetos Mozzarella Sticks

After watching an animated gif about turning Cheetos into Mozzarella sticks, I was sold. And made my own batch.

Guys, let me tell you, this is not for the weak-hearted. It wasn’t easy, and I probably won’t do it again. After the fourth or fifth stick, the Cheetos all started gluing themselves to each other with the egg, while the egg refused to stick to the cheese stick and I had one hell of a time trying to get the Cheetos bread crumbs wrapped around the stick. Then, there was the whole, cooking to the right temperature and not sticking cheese to paper towels part of serving that shit…it was a little rough around the edges. But you know, if you’re feeling adventurous, give it a go. It was still pretty tasty, although the over-powering frying oil seemed to overtake the delicious Cheetos flavor. If I were feeling up to the challenge again, I think I might try baking them.

What crazy recipes have you tried lately? Which ones do you want to try? Would you eat these tasty beasts?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Best Cheeses to Eat Solo

Listen up. I know that cheese makes EVERYTHING better. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, dessert…Cheese can play an integral role in any dish. But in honor of National Cheese Lover’s Day (January 20th, yo!) I’m going to encourage you to DEVOUR some delicious cheese from around the globe…without a cracker, dipper, chip, entree, bread, sauce, or any other accouterments. Because while cheese makes everything taste better, cheese itself is like Mary fucking Poppins. Practically perfect in every way. This list is in no particular order. Because I can’t just organize my love of cheese. Try arranging your children by favorite to least favorite…I mean…uhhh…

Eat some cheese.

I love eating cheese by itself. Honestly, I love eating cheese in all its glorious forms. But these cheeses taste great solo, and as a cheese connoisseur, I can assure you they're delicious.

Midnight Moon by Cypress Grove

Do you remember my GUSHING love letter to Cypress Grove? While I’ve tried many of Cypress Grove’s decadent and amazing goat cheeses, Midnight Moon, which is a creamy, nutty magic blast of goat milky goodness, remains at the top of every cheese list. If I had to pick one beloved cheese to rule them all…this might be the ringleader.

Farmstead Bay Blue by Point Reyes

This buttered-cracker flavored blue is AMAZING. It’s semi-firm and likened to a Stilton.  If you like blue cheese, this a really delicious cheese that I like to just sort of…eat. Who needs crackers anyway when you have a spoon?Cheese Sign

Apple Harvest Cheddar with Cinnamon by Maple Lead Farms

Oh man, you guys. So this is a family favorite. I think my cousin almost kissed me when I brought her some home from Wisconsin. You can more frequently find their cranberry and blueberry varieties, which are still pretty tasty…but it’s really hard to compare to this apply-cheddary goodness. Om nom nom.

Chocolate Cheddar by Trader Joe’s

This mecca for tasty, yet not too expensive cheese has a seasonal variety that should be making its way back into stores soon. Cheddar cheese with flecks of chocolate make this a dessert, breakfast or delicious snacking cheese. You’re quite welcome.

2014-11-15 14.22.20

Raspberry Bellavitano by Sartori

Sartori makes a lot of amazing cheeses, including an espresso bellavitano, but my favorite is still the raspberry. A flavor cross between a cheddar and a parmesan with a hint of raspberry makes this magic in a wheel.

Wisconsin Cheese Curds

If you are ANYWHERE near Wisconsin, might I recommend a day trip to pick up some fresh squeaky cheese?

Merkt’s Swiss

If you’re absolutely disgusting, like I am…you’ll appreciate eating spreadable cheese with a spoon. If you’re not…well try not to judge too much. Sometimes the calories are wasted on crackers when they’re completely unnecessary.

Photo from Merkt's Website

Photo from Merkt’s Website

Smoked String Cheese

Forget the regular string cheese and find yourself this smoky variety that tastes like fucking camping. CAMPING!

Mariek Gouda (any flavor)

You can find several styles of this creamy, flavorful gouda, including caraway seed, mustard seed, foenegreek (which gives it a maple-y flavor), and burning nettle melange. If you like gouda, I recommend giving one of these flavors a go.

Carr Valley Cocoa Cardona

This cheese is very mild & a little sweet with a  hint of chocolate flavor from the light dusting along the rind. I’m a huge fan of Carr Valley-they’re one of my favorite Wisconsin cheese labels. If you come across something from Carr Valley, give it a whirl. Oooh Marisa is a great Carr Valley option too!

This was a recent SnapChat post. Looks like dinner to me!

This was a recent SnapChat post. Looks like dinner to me! The middle cheese is Carr Valley Marissa, the front right is Midnight Moon. I’m not sure of the other two, but I’m sure they were delicious.

What’s your favorite cheese to eat solo? Do you prefer cheese on stuff or plan? What will you eat tonight to celebrate National Cheese Lover’s Day?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Meet the McSmoky Triple Cheese Burger – My McDonald’s Create Your Taste

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to take my pal Cletus over to a McDonald’s near-ish me in Downers Grove. We used to live in Downers Grove, so this was near and dear to me. They closed the McDonald’s that I knew and loved, and opened a new one a mile down the road. And this new McD’s was special.

KioskThe first of its kind in Illinois, the Create Your Taste menu offers a build-your-own burger feature. When Cletus and I walked into the McD’s we were greeted by one of the many helpful team members, who showed us how to operate the order menu screen.

Building my own sammy in DG at @Mcdonalds #MyPerfectSandwich ##McDPtr

A video posted by Quirky Chrissy (@quirkychrissy) on

With so many menu options to choose from, I could make whatever burger I wanted.

And I wanted all the cheese.

The menu boasts three different cheese options including a pepper jack, white cheddar and the traditional American.

Now, I’m not a big fan of American cheese in a lot of circumstances, but there are some food stuffs that are classic and nostalgic and exactly what  I want…and a cheese burger with American cheese is one of them.

Cheese

Of course, I clicked the buttons for all three cheeses on my burger.

How many burger patties? I only need one. I’ve already got cheese, cheese, and cheese.

What type of bun? I want the artisan roll – it’s the most like the original bun.

Add Bacon

Add bacon for a small charge? Yep. Definitely.

What sauce did I want? Oh, I’m thinkin’ the sweet barbeque (which is actually sweet and smoky).

What extras? Let’s go with pickles, lettuce and red onion for the win.

Fries? Oh heck yes.

When it was Cletus’ turn to order, he opted for a specialty build, instead of his own creation.

Build Your BurgerThe Hot All Over had pepper jack cheese and jalapenos, and was an obvious win for Cletus, though he was disappointed that he couldn’t find pineapple on the menu.

Specialty BurgersWhen a team member delivered our food a little less than 10 minutes later, he was SUPER helpful, offering to bring me extra BBQ sauce and ketchup. The fries were OMG served in the CUTEST little fry baskets, making this a serious happy lunch hour for this girl.

Fry basketI may have already eaten half the fries by the time I remembered to take the picture. Don’t hate.

McSmokyAnd of course, the piece de resistance. The McSmoky Triple Cheese Burger. The cheeses melted together in a magical cheesy burger land. The smoky BBQ added a rich flavor and the rest of the ingredients were exactly what I wanted on my burger. Thanks McDonald’s! This was delish.

Create your taste

The giveaway has ended, but I’m still curious…

What burger toppings would you put on your dream burger (and while pineapple is not currently on the menu at McD’s, you’re free to suggest it as a dream burger topping for your sammy Cletus’ orders)?

This post was created in partnership with McDonald’s. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Holiday Leftover Breakfast Pizza – It Sounds Gross, But Even Brian Liked It

Okay, so after Thanksgiving, my girlfriend Brookie Banosnapper Snapchatted me with her fancy “Turkey and hollandaise with poached eggs on flatbread” and “I’m making all the soup from Thanksgiving leftovers” I’m-cooler-than-you-videos.

In typical lady fashion, I had to one-up her.

I also had to use some of the Thanksgiving leftovers that I had in order to make room in my fridge for Second Thanksgiving food prep and such. It was a Saturday morning. I was bored. I was hungry. And I thought…what the hell? Let’s get experimental and crazy up in here.

So I did this. And OMG even Brian was down with it.

Holiday leftovers breakfast pizza

If you have Snapchat, why aren’t we friends yet?

The beauty of this breakfast treat is that it’s totally relevant after whatever holiday feast you’ve got going for you. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Easter. Random fancy-pants Sunday dinner if you do that sort of thing.

Holiday Leftover Breakfast Pizza Recipe

Holiday leftover breakfast pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 can of crescent rolls
  • 1 cup turkey
  • 1 cup ham
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cheese (or more) (I used brie on half and Vella Dry Monterey Jack on half)
  • 3 Eggs

Method

  1. Roll out crescent rolls in a circular shape on a round pan (I used my pizza stone, but you can use non-stick pans or whatever you prefer, really)
  2. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on the type of pan you used (longer for stoneware) and your preferred crustiness
  3. Slice or shred cheese (I sliced the brie and shredded the Jack)
  4. Dice ham and turkey (if you don’t have a cup of each, don’t worry about it…I’m really bad at that whole measuring thing)
  5. Add the meat to a non-stick frying pan (or a regular frying pan with your spray, butter, or oil of choice)
  6. Cook for a minute
  7. Crack the eggs over the meat and scramble in the pan (I prefer this method to pre-scrambling, but you can do it your scrambled way and it’ll work just fine)
  8. Set the scrambled eggs aside
  9. Remove the crescent crust from the oven and spread with cranberry sauce (I knew Brian wouldn’t want the cranberry, so I only used that on half the pizza)
  10. Evenly distribute the scrambled eggs on the cranberry sauce or crust
  11. Top with cheese (I used brie over the cranberry side and the Jack on the non-cran side)
  12. Return the pan to the oven to melt cheese (keep it on bake if you’re using stoneware, broil otherwise)
  13. Remove when cheese is melted
  14. Slice and enjoy

Brian was surprisingly impressed with my Thanksgiving leftovers breakfast pizza concept (and thankful that I didn’t include the cranberry sauce on his half). I had two slices for breakfast and two slices for lunch, while Brian ate 4 slices for brunch – he doesn’t wake up in time to eat breakfast with the laypeople. He also added a little sriracha hot sauce to his slices, and that was pretty damn tasty too.

What weirdo creations have you concocted with leftovers? Tell me your leftover war stories – the good, the bad and the ugly. Any kitchen successes that probably should have been fails or vice versa?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Blue Cheese and Date Spread on Endive

You know how sometimes, you throw a party and plan for certain types of food, and something inevitably goes wrong?

I had bacon-wrapped dates on the brain, but sometimes, things don’t turn out as planned. But I had all these dates, and needed to figure out something to do with them. After digging through my fridge, I decided on my favorite back-up plan.

Throw shit in a pan and hope it turns out.

I’m nothing if not resourceful. In all reality, this is a magical life skill that I learned as a catering manager. Make do with what you have on hand and improvise. Quickly.

Blue Cheese and date spread on endive

So I came up with this recipe. I had bought endive with the intent of doing something experimental…I just wasn’t sure what. As it turned out, my blue cheese and dates spread was magical and delicious – if you like blue cheese. Which I do. Brian, unfortunately, does not. So he hated it. Other blue cheese lovers enjoyed it, plus it looked kinda pretty on the plate, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you. If you try this, let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz Trader Joe’s Medjool dates
  • 4 oz Amish blue cheese
  • 4 oz apple cinnamon goat cheese
  • 8-12 heads of Belgian endive
  • 1 cup blueberries or other garnish of choice

Method:

  1. Dice dates into small pieces
  2. In a medium crock pot, heat dates for 15-20 minutes
  3. Crumble blue and goat cheeses into a separate bowl
  4. Clean and prepare endive by cutting off the bottoms and peeling the leaves off in layers
  5. After about 15 minutes, add cheese and cook until the cheese is melted, stirring occasionally
  6. Turn off heat and spoon mixture into endive leaves
  7. Chill overnight
  8. Serve plated in a circle with a colorful garnish in the center

I love how endive is pretty much the ideal vessel for snacky treats like this one. The bitterness of the endive (pronounced “n – dive” when I’m around normal people and “on deeve” when I’m trying to sound fancy.) was minimal and definitely offset by the sweetness of the dates.

Are you a blue cheese fan? Would you have added or changed ingredients? What’s your favorite hors d’oeuvre?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Ow!

It’s really no big secret that I injure myself…A lot. Like that time I walked head first into a pole…or tripped over an invisible wire…or sprained my knee while skiing, walking, getting ice…And many other heartwarming tales of pain and unintentional self-abuse.

Accident prone and injuries - yelling ow!

What “Ow!” sounds like to Brian, according to me:

Mostly, “Ow!” sounds a lot like a trivia game, with a series of questions and multiple choice answers and really, none of them are probably correct, because all of them are correct in a sort of, but not really way…and regardless, the “ow!” ends in pain for someone (usually me) which doesn’t really make anyone feel good about life…or the clumsy existence that belongs solely to me.

OW!

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled life programming because your girlfriend has injured herself again. Do you

  1. Ignore it?
  2. Wait for uncontrollable sobbing?
  3. Pause, and wait for a slew of “Shit, damn motherfucking, hate whatever just injured me this time” cursing
  4. Race immediately to the aid of your damsel in distress for the umpteenth time because she did one or all of the following in a matter of 12 hours?
    1. Burned her hand because she touched the hot crock pot
    2. Knocked her head while trying to store stuff under the stairs in the basement
    3. Dropped a santoku knife on her toe while cutting cheese
    4. Discovers yet another mystery bruise or cut or both

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming. Though someone may have lost a little blood. I recommend chocolate.

Obviously, Brian is a gentleman. And just like a parent can tell the difference between a baby’s cries, Brian can tell the difference between most of my shouts of terror and/or pain. Usually.

And yes, all of those little…accidents…happened between Friday night and Saturday afternoon. And yes, I did slice the ever living baby cheeses out of my toe with the brand new fancy pants Pampered Chef santoku knife. And yes, Brian did come bandage me up.

He also came running when I was trying to hide the 4 laundry baskets full of dirty laundry (we FINALLY have a washer and dryer, so laundry is now done) under the stairs so people couldn’t see them.

I’m not sure he knew I burned my hand on the crock pot, and quite frankly, that’s okay in my book. He already thinks I hurt myself too much and too often…

I also found a mystery bruise on my inner forearm – no IDEA how THAT happened. It was like a few weeks ago when I found a foot-long cut on my leg and couldn’t figure out for the life of me where it came from. And seriously. Who has a FOOT-LONG cut that they don’t remember getting? Me. That’s who. And actually, on Sunday, I also discovered a mystery slice on my thumb that may have also come from that very dangerous santoku knife.

Blog Friends, do you have a tendency to injure yourself on the regular? What’s the most recent random injury that you’ve encountered? Do you ever get mystery scars or bruises?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

If We’re Going to Die, I Want to be Covered in Cheese.

Driving along the coast, just north or south of San Francisco is terrifying and breathtaking in the same moment. The varying drops off the side of the mountainous roads are steep. And I have a thing with vertigo and windy (as in wind a clock, not wind and sea; although I suppose that fits, as well) roads. But it’s also beautiful. The fog rolling in creates this amazing visual that is hard to describe and even harder to capture.

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On our way up the California coast from San Francisco to Sonoma Valley, we took a long and curvy road up into the mountains (well, they looked like mountains to this Great Plains girl), & I was more than a little terrified. Brian was driving through the curves as if he had been doing it all his life (I suppose that’s the Irish coming out), when he told me that in Ireland, the hill roads were the same…ONLY NARROWER.

Um. I’m never going to Ireland. (I’m lying.)

We stopped when we discovered a space to pull off the road and snap a few pics for you. It was harder to do than I thought. The fog isn’t very accommodating in the world of photography. But I tried. For you.

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Brian LOVES the mountains and the fog and the cool weather. (There’s that Irish thing again.)

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I wasn’t terrified at this stop. It was quite neat, actually.

On our way down to San Jose, on the other hand…I freaked out a little when we stopped. And wouldn’t get out of the car.

So driving out of Sonoma, we took a seriously scenic route. We rolled down through San Francisco, and further into the woods. We thought we’d check out a state park south of San Jose. In that time, we ALMOST ran out of gas, drove in a giant circle, and couldn’t find any flipping redwoods. It was like a horror flick waiting to happen. We had to pull up to some random worker dudes on the road and ask for the nearest gas station. With a rental car on E.

The gas station was a little dive in the middle of the forest and I feared for things like kidnapping and murder (I saw The Vanishing one too many times as a kid). After we filled up, we passed the same workers…coming from the same direction we had before. 40 minutes later. (See. Giant circle.)

And the we started climbing up the hills again. Beautiful and scary. Epic.
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At one point, I was trying to take pictures out the window, and Brian offered to stop to get better images. I was all about it. Until we stopped and I was about to get out of the car. I was a bit nervous, and Brian cracked a joke about not falling…and then he volunteered to go take pictures for me. I let him. I looked out from the safety of the parked car while fearing that my boyfriend would fall down with the keys in his pocket and I would be stranded and panicking about Brian. I have a bad habit of imagining the worst case scenario for every situation.

California View

One of Brian’s snaps. Is that not absolutely stunning?

 

We had picked up snacks and sandwiches for a little picnic lunch in the forest, and it was getting late for me. The hangry was creeping up on me quite rapidly, so I pulled out the Tostitos Mild Salsa Con Queso and tortilla chips. Brian warned me to not spill the cheese (like I would EVER consciously waste cheese like that.) I told him that the only way this cheese was going to spill was “if we were to fly off one of these cliffs. And quite frankly, if we’re going to die, I’d want to be covered in cheese.”

He realized I made a fair point and promised not to drive off any cliffs.

We finally arrived at the entrance of the state park, enjoyed lunch and were on our way. By then, we were both too exhausted to hike through the forest, and I had a party to get to a few hours later. So we rolled out. Even still, the drive continued in a frightening pattern. Instead of just curvy roads, we were now encountering those one-car-width roads PLUS curves PLUS steep inclines and declines.

Oh! And CHRISTMAS TREES!

Christmas is coming...

Christmas is coming…

Have you been to northern California? Or just driven through scary hilly roads? What’s the scariest road trip you’ve taken? Do you imagine worst case scenarios?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!