Sunday, May 1, 2016

I seem to have missed April...

If anyone is out there reading this, I apologize for the lack of updates. I can no longer update the blog from work, and the tablet is a pain to post from. Semi-regular posting & Foodie Fridays will return when I have time to go sit at the library.

So, what have I been doing in the 6 or so weeks since my last post?

Well, the thyroid saga is FINALLY over. The last ultrasound showed the tumor had literally tripled in size and Dr. M said it had to come out. The surgery was April 18th. The good news is that he got it all out and it wasn't cancerous enough for me to need radiation treatment. The scary news is that it was pressing into my windpipe & vocal cord. They don't think I would have lived until the next ultrasound as it was growing so rapidly. I would have probably just fallen asleep & not woken up due to lack of air.

Anyway, I had 2 weeks off work, which my bosses acted like I'd done solely to inconvenience them. I pointed out that I could have scheduled it for Derby Week & they still would have had to give it to me per FMLA. The 29th was my first shift back, and it wiped me out. I was told to expect this for the next 6 weeks or so until the doctors get my hormone levels balanced out.

Back to the surgery for a moment. I've posted before about the panic attacks induced by having a mask on my face. I warned the nurses ahead of time, and the anaesthesiologist came in to talk to me. He said they couldn't totally knock me out beforehand, but they gave me a heavy sedative. They also had me bite this tube (it was what they hold your mouth open with to run oxygen tubes in once you're unconscious) and ran the knockout gas through that instead of a mask. Honestly, the last thing I remember is being told to "bite this and breathe deep!" It was great! No blood pressure issues, no blood sugar spikes, nothing!

Yeah, so that's pretty much been it for me. I still hate the people I work for & with. I've decided that life is too short to keep dealing with the stress from that office, so have resumed active job hunting. At this point I don't even care if I have to take pay cuts- it will be worth it to be free of those assholes & away from that toxic building.

More when I can post again...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

And it's March already...

Not much to report. Work is depressingly awful, my health is still sketchy. Mom & Dad are doing well though!

The tubby tabby boys are settling in nicely. They've taken to greeting me at the door when I come home from work, flipping at my feet to get belly rubs, and following me into the bathroom where they fight with Nightshade for my attention.

As you can see, they're BIG boys compared to my little Shady girl. She & Remy warned my heart when they peacefully shared a dish of gooshyfood, and then curled up in me for a nap.

I felt like I should eat a hot dinner, even though I haven't felt up to cooking all week. I compromised on this: pesto tortelloni in a jarred Alfredo sauce that I jazzed up with Italian sausage, peas, parmesan/Romano blend & some herbs. Here's the result, and Shady offering to taste test it for me.

More when I can get online again...

Friday, March 4, 2016


These are little bites of heaven. Being me, of course I want to add bacon to them, but they really don't need it.

Author: Little Spice Jar
Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 45 mins Total time: 55 mins
Serves: approximately 30-34 bites

Caramelized onion bites with sautéed crimini mushrooms, balsamic caramelized onions, and applewood smoked gruyere cheese. Thee perfect little appetizers! They're made with puff pastry and take no time at all to whip up! These are the perfect appetizers to serve your guests this holiday season.


4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
5-6 ounces crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon sugar
1½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
4 ounces grated gruyere cheese (I used applewood smoked gruyere)
1 package (1 pound) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil along with 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes until tender. Remove and set aside in a medium bowl.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter along with the 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté the onions for 5 minutes. Add the dried thyme and sugar and continue to cook for 25 minutes on medium low heat. Make sure to stir the mixture every 5 minutes or so. If the onions are caramelizing too fast, turn down the heat a little more. Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, allow the onions to soak it all in. Turn off heat. Add the onions to the mushroom mixture. Season with the garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature. Mixture can be kept in an air-tight container and refrigerated for up to 48 hours at this point. Allow to come to room temperature before proceeding. Add the gruyere cheese and mix well.
Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the puff pastry into 2-inch squares and place them on a lined baking sheet. Make sure the puff pastry is cold before proceeding. If not, allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before proceeding. Using a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg on the squares. Place a tablespoon of caramelized onion mixture in the center. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway in between until crisp and golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

Make sure the puff pastry is cold when it goes into the oven. If at any point it becomes soft, allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or until it firms up again. Do not open the oven door during the first 10 minutes of baking time. Frequently opening the oven may cause the puff pastry to not 'puff up'.

Swiss cheese or mozzarella cheese may be used to replace the gruyere. I really like the smoky flavor of applewood smoked gruyere with these bites.

If you've prepared the caramelized onion mixture ahead of time, you can zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds to bring it back to room temperature quickly.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Foodie Friday- Pecan Pie Bites

Mmm. I love pecan pie. This is a good way to taken it with you just about anywhere, but without the mess that a whole pie generates.



1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter, softened
1 Land O Lakes® Egg (yolk only)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray 36 mini muffin pan cups with no-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, butter, egg yolk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat at low speed until well mixed.

Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls; place each into prepared mini muffin pan cups, pressing dough onto bottom and up one-third sides of each cup, creating a shallow cup.

Combine all filling ingredients in bowl; spoon 1 teaspoon filling into each cookie.

Bake 13-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 10 minutes in pan on cooling rack.

Remove cookies from pans by running small knife around edge of cookie. Place onto cooling rack; cool completely.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Foodie Friday: One-Pan Mushrooms w/Chickpeas, Caramelized Onions, & Kale

This is a tasty, one pan dish. I know I should try to do meatless meals every now and then, but I can't help thinking this needs bacon in it. (Shredded or ground chicken or pork would also be good) This can be either a main course or a good side dish.

One-Pan Mushrooms, Chickpeas, and Kale


To save time, slice the mushrooms and prep the kale while the onions caramelize. You'll already be in the kitchen to keep an eye on and stir the onions. For a slight variation, omit the chickpeas and top the combination of mushrooms, kale, and onions with a poached egg or two.


1 1/2 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced
Kosher salt
1 pound wild mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
1 bunch dinosaur kale, ribs removed and torn into bite-size pieces
Balsamic vinegar, to taste
Parmesan shavings
1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley


Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to a large skillet; heat until shimmering over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a few generous pinches of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown and slumped — nearly but not quite caramelized — about 30-40 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, the mushrooms, and a few generous pinches of salt, and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown, 5-10 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, the chickpeas, kale, and a few generous pinches of salt, and cook until the kale is wilted, 2-3 minutes. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan and balance out the other flavors with its acidity. Season to taste with additional salt and balsamic vinegar. Garnish with parmesan shavings and parsley.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Foodie Friday- Pioneer Woman's Baked Fudge

So, my least favorite holiday is coming up this weekend. This is how I plan to indulge myself.

Delicious Baked Fudge

Prep: 10 Minutes Level: Easy
Cook: 50 Minutes Serves: 4

2 whole Eggs
1 cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
2 Tablespoons Flour
1/2 cup Butter, Melted
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 300 to 325 degrees.

Beat eggs until light in color. Beat in sugar until just combined. Add cocoa, flour, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Mix gently until well combined.

Pour batter into four large ramekins or one 8-inch square baking dish. Set ramekins or pan into a larger pan halfway full of water.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until upper crust is crispy and the rest of the batter is firm but not set. Toothpick should come out…not clean, but mixture should not be overly runny. If you pull it out of the oven and have second thoughts, stick it back in for ten more minutes.

Serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream; whatever makes your skirt fly up.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Foodie Friday: One Pan Cilantro-Lime Chicken & Black Beans w/Rice

Found here, this is an easy-peasy one dish dinner. I'm not crazy about the fact that it uses minute rice, so I'm playing around with ways to use better rice, but it is quick and still pretty tasty.

One Pan Cilantro ­Lime Chicken and Rice with Black Beans

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: About 4 servings


1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1­inch cubes Coupons
1 Tbsp canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 green onions, chopped (keep lighter and darker portions separate)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups low­sodium chicken broth
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
2 tsp lime zest
3 Tbsp lime juice
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and well drained
2 cups minute white rice (don't use regular rice!)
1/3 cup chopped cilantro


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium ­high heat. Once hot add chicken, season with salt and
pepper, and saute until cooked through, about 6 minutes, adding in lighter portions of the green
onions and garlic at last 1 minute of cooking. Stir in broth, green onion greens, green chilies,
lime zest, lime juice, black beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a
boil, add rice, fully immerse rice in broth, and allow to boil 20 seconds, then remove from heat
and immediately cover with a lid. Let rest 5-6 minutes.

If needed, return pan to medium heat and cook and toss 1 minute to allow rice to absorb excess
moisture. Remove from heat, toss in cilantro and let rest uncovered 3 minutes.

Recipe source: Cooking Classy