Archive | January 2012

Trip To Ireland Part 1: The Lingo

I recently took a trip to visit some buddies of mine in Ireland. I went with The Texan. Before you ask, no he couldn’t understand them, and yes they could understand him (and insisted he was a cowboy) and yes it was hilarious.

You’d think, being the huge Irish population in Chicago, I’d know everything there was to know. And I knew a lot. But, somethings slip by even me.

For the sake of not BORING you with details about the trip because honestly, it’s probably only interesting to me, I’ve decided to just post some amusing things you might find interesting about the green place and it’s people.

We went to visit some friends there and it was a great time. I learned quite a bit. We went to visit a guy we call Lucky, yes, it’s a nic name.

First things first…some lingo.

The word you’ll probably hear most: Craic. Pronounced “crack.” There is no definition for this word here in the US. It’s slang, sort of. Let me try to explain.

The first thing you’ll hear off the plane: What’s the craic? Tranlsation: How’s it going?

How was the craic? Translation: How was it (the party, the trip, etc).

What’s the craic today? Translation: What you up to today?

That’s good craic. Translation: That was good or that sounds like a good time.

That’s bad craic. Translation: That was no good. That sucks.

For the craic. Translation: For a good time.

Ok, so you get the idea.

Also, you WILL hear “wee”. Alot. Everything is “wee.” And for those not schooled in Irish people, “wee” does not always mean “little” or “tiny.” It can, it often does, but not always. For example:

“You’re so wee.” (which I heard a lot, goddamnit) means “You’re small.”

However, they will also say “She’s a wee lovely girl.” Which doesn’t mean she’s small, it means she’s lovely. I like her.

It can also be pity, in the same sentence. “Poor wee girl.”

Or it can mean “SOME.” For example: Would you like a wee coffee? I’ve got some wee cheese. Would you like a wee drink? Don’t expect they mean SMALL when they say that, especially when they are talking about liquor. But I’ll get to that later.

Food also is not described by food like terms. Food is not tasty, delicious, or yummy. Food is described the way you would describe a good looking person. For example: “This steak is gorgeous.” or “This coffee is beautiful.” Doesn’t mean it LOOKS good, means it TASTES good.

“Like” is also a totally acceptable way to end damn near any sentence. I picked this up years ago from hanging out with Irish people. I didn’t actually realized I’d picked it up until Mr. Big started saying it and I wondered why he was saying it, then Texan pointed out that I’ve ALWAYS said. Oops. Irish by osmosis.

There isn’t really a definition for the “like” factor. It’s not used the way we use it, we use like as a way to describe something. This is LIKE that. Instead, they would say “The coffee was hot but it was terrible like.” Translation being “The coffee was hot. It was horrible though.”

We would say “I didn’t mean to do that.” They would say “I did it, but not on purpose like.”

They also say Aye. Aye means yes, pretty plainly. More like “yeah.” Someone says “Aye” they mean yeah. Someone says “Aye right” they mean “yeah right” or basically “you’re full of it.”

You’ll almost never hear the words “supposed to.” For example, we’d say “I’m supposed to go to the doctor.” They’d say “I’m meant to go to the doctor.”

“Pint” also means “beer.” That’s pretty self explanatory.

“Bake” means “face.”

“Chips” are “fries.” That’s pretty universal in that region in general. “Crisps” are “chips.” Like that come in a bag.

And there is a difference between “shite” and “shit.” Now, I got a huge, hilarious lecture from Lucky’s friend on this. Apparently, “shite” is a grosser, more forceful way to say “shit.” He explained it like this: Shit is something you can “cut with a knife” (go ahead and gag, I did). Shite is something that’s “all over the place.” LOL! I’m actually laughing at this. Nice description huh?

Let’s recap shall we?

Here is a typical Irish paragraph

“I went to the pub, for some craic like, and I had a pint with the lads. I ordered the fish. It was meant to be battered like, it was gorgeous. They’re chips were shite. The chef told me they were fresh. Aye, right.”

So, I’ve got you so far.

The Irish also do not understand diabetics or the idea of carbohydrates. To them, diabetic means you can’t have SUGAR. Period. No sugar in your tea, basically. No sweets. They don’t really quite get that potatoes and bread are effectively the same thing. It’s really actually very endearing.

I say “Oh that looks wonderful, but I’m diabetic, I can’t have that.”

The reply “Oh, right. Well, I get you some wee chips then.”

“I’m sorry, I’m sure they are very good but I can’t have fries.”

“Why not? They are potatoes.”

“I know, potatoes are carbohydrates.”

“Oh, aye” (not really understanding what I meant but don’t want to argue) “I’ve got some wee wheaten bread then. Good for ya”

You get the picture.

Then of course there’s the Northern Irish thing of saying “so it is” or “so I am, did, etc”. I’ve no idea what verbal purpose this serves but it’s very common.

Me: “Is this the only grocery store in town.” Irish Person: “Aye, it’s the biggest one, so it is, but there’s one just down the road as well.”

Me: “Where did you go today?” Irish Person: “I’ve went to the store, so I did.”

Me: “Did you get what you needed from the store?” Irish Person: “They were closed, so they were.”

Irish people are also VERY nice. VERY VERY VERY nice. I’ll get to that later, but they aren’t “polite” in the way we think of here in the US. There isn’t a lot of please and thank yous or no ma’am yes sirs. They have their own way of being polite.

For example, if were to ask someone to hand you a beer from across the table in the US, the nice way to say it would be “May I please have that beer?” or more appropriately “Can you hand me that beer?”

Irish translation: Giz a pint.

That roughly translates into English as “Give us a pint.” It’s really cool to me that they are comfortable talking in the third person, it just took me a minute to get what they were actually saying.

The same with “Hi, how are you?” That’s how we would greet people here. Or if you were talkin’ to friends it’d be “Hey, what’s up?”

In Ireland, in Northern Ireland particularly, the proper way to say this is apparently to yell pretty enthusiastically “WHAT ABOUT YE?” This rightly scared the CRAP out of me and quickly made me laugh the first time I heard it. Lucky, the guy we went to visit, had warned me about people saying this and what it meant. I just didn’t expect it from a cab driver. I get in the cab and I say “Hi!”

Driver shouts “WHAT ABOUT YE?” I immediately widened my eyes and started to giggle, over the initial shock. I still have NO clue how you actually answer that question because it’s odd to me. No response seemed right.

“What about ye?” “Um, I’m ok” That doesn’t sound right

“What about ye?” “I’m fine, how are you?” That doesn’t sound right either.

So I just said “Thanks for coming so quick! It’s pretty weather today huh?” Ok, that was an international fail but I choked.

Bollocks: This can mean a myriad of things. It can be a form of exasperation, much like “shit!” If you drop something, you’d go “BOLLOCKS!” (pronounced Ballix).

“That’s bollocks.” Means: That’s BS.

Or it can mean testicles: “Punch him in the bollocks.”

Pissed or steaming: Meaning “drunk”

Fag: Means cigarette. Yeah. Takes getting used to, I know.

Arse: Ass

Mates: “friends”

Quare. There’s another word that took some getting used to. This can interchangably mean “weird” or “very” I think. For example: He’s a quare pup. Meaning “he’s a weird guy.” Or “That’s some quare craic” meaning “That’s a great time.” This one I’m still iffy on. For all the long I’ve heard it, it’s still a bit strange.

Dodgy: Means somethings up, strange, or not right, it can also loosely mean that sucks. Like “How’s the soccer game going?” “They’ve been doing well and now the other team has scored 2 points. It’s dodgy.” Or “The weather is dodgy.”

You’re a big lad. Meaning: You’re a small guy.

You’re a wee lad. Meaning: You’re a big guy.

Slagging. To mean: make fun of. “I’m just slaggin’ yeh.” I’m just playing around.

So, let’s go through a kind of casual Irish conversation between two Irish males.

Irish male #1: What’s the craic?

Irish male #2: What about ye? (said probably at the same time)

#1: Quare craic last night. Where were ye?

#2: I was meant to take my girl to hospital.

#1: That’s bad craic. She still sick, aye?

#2: Aye. They gave her antibiotics, so they did.

#1: Right. Poor wee girl

#2: Giz a pint. What was the craic last night?

#1: We got pissed. My mates arrived late like. They were meant to have met some girls at a pub.

#2: Aye, right

#1: We sat about slaggin each other. We ordered take away, the food was lovely.

#2: Oh, aye. Sounds like good craic. Sorry I missed it.

This is a very generic representation of what you’ll hear from the native males in their natural state. Be careful not to get too close to their beers though, they’ve been known to be aggressive when challenged. Although a generally fun loving and playful species, you must know the rules of this rare and endangered Northern Irish species to walk amongst them undetected.

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Unpluggeth!

I was sitting in my kitchen the other day happily typing away some recipes of mine into my Ipad’s recipe organizer. I’m trying to get it all in there so that I can throw away a lot of my recipe cards and have a nice, single organized place for all of them.

I’ve recently gotten Mr. B interested in steampunk style decor. He’s been pulling apart lamps and watches that would instead be garbage and making really cool stuff out of them. I’d had a long day of working, cleaning, taking care of my old pup and generally getting things done. Sitting down to type recipes was actually relaxing to me. And then I hear him say:

“Do you mind if I turn on Netflix for some background noise?”

This spawned a conversation. Mr. B and the Texan almost ALWAYS need some kind of noise going in the background. Even when they sleep. Mr. B is an ultra-gamer, he can spend hours and hours and hours day after day in front of the PS3 whereas Texan is usually glued to news, sports, message boards on his phone or the history channel on the TV and if not that then the radio.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my gadgets. My Ipad my Iphone and I do watch some TV: True Blood, Game Of Thrones, Californication, re runs of Family Guy. But in general, I’m not a “tv watcher.”

I’ve been poked at because I like my house silent. Like that’s a weird thing. I don’t mind kids laughing or dogs barking, I don’t mind organic noise. But I’ve truthfully gone entire weeks without a radio or TV and would probably go entire weeks without a computer if it wasn’t part of my job. I enjoy the quiet. I’m one of those people that relishes the silence when the power goes out. There’s no more electric buzzing from the plugged in but not running electronics in the house. It’s back to story telling and talking and knitting.

My BFF had actually once made a comment that she liked my living room a lot and that she plans on having one like it. There’s no TV. When we are in the living room, we TALK. We don’t eat dinner with the TV going, ever. It wasn’t even a hard and fast rule, it was just natural. Dinner times means catching up time.

I’m not so worried about people plopping in front of the TV or the game console, hell I do it. I’m more worried about what they AREN’T doing. Especially with children.

If you are pacified by the TV, or some other electronic thing, chances are you aren’t thinking about the walk you could take, the place you could go fishing, a trip to the zoo, a skill you could learn. I often wonder what happened to the great old art of “talking” or “teaching.”

This can most obviously be seen in going out to dinner. Go on. Go out to dinner with a bunch of friends, friends under the age of 35 especially. They are GLUED to their phones the whole time. My BFF found a fantastic idea called “phone stacking.” Put your phone on the table at dinner, all of you, first one to pick it up has to pay the bill. I thought this was a great idea but then she asked me:

“Well, what if your phone is ringing?” See what I mean? What are honestly the chances that THAT phone call is an emergency one? And if you are really worried about it, then how about if the phone rings incessantly, THEN it’s ok to pick it up. But, with the advent of technology feeds the “I-can-get-ahold-of-you-any-time-I-want” mentality, and the definition of “emergencies” become well, slightly altered.

I’ve gone fishing in the past where my friends haven’t put down their phones the whole time. I HATE that, you are in nature, enjoy it. If I go hiking, unless I need the GPS, the phone gets LEFT in the CAR. It’s just me and the dog and the noises around us.

When I suggest to people to unplug, including their children, they almost get into a panic. They start to make excuses like addicts. Well, just this one last week or I can’t because…it’s actually rather sad. What’s sadder is if you’ve ever know children who are addicted or “raised” on television, you’ll notice that their attention spans for anything, literally, are about 8-10 minutes long: exactly the amount of time between commercials. How about instead of just family xbox game night or family board game night, there’s family craft night? Family hike night? Family garden day? Something that sort of disconnects you from a serious central focal point of amusement and hones a skill or appreciation? I’m certainly not battering the way people do things, they are just suggestions. I get sad at the thought of “environmental deficiency” and I’m most certain that this condition actually exists. So many people don’t even get daylight nevertheless proper outside time.

As a chick who loves crafting and everything “homey” I mourn the days of crafting circles and actually LEARNING things from other women. Not buying DVD’s, books or looking it up on the internet. Nor am I talking about circles where everyone just gets together and does their craft and talks, though, those are a lot of fun. But knowing someone who knows how to knit, sew, make this or that and will teach you,  having days out of the season to all get together and can stuff, or make pierogis (which is a PAIN to do alone) or whatnot. It’s not just the act itself, it’s the social bonding as well. It’s how memories are made. It reminds you no man is an island. But the people who still do these things in and of themselves are few and far between, nevertheless a whole group of people in the same area.

I’ll notice a lot of people saying too that “they aren’t interested.” That annoys me. Maybe it’s because I really do believe in broadening one’s horizons, but how do you know if you aren’t interested if you don’t try?

All that being said, I don’t hate technology. I LOVE it. It certainly has it’s place. When I think of all the waste in landfills that things like MP3 players and Kindles have saved (though I still do love me an old book, and I’m totally sad at the closing down of SO many book stores),  or how  many lives technology has saved, I certainly know it has it’s place. I just often worry that this technology, instead of having it’s place and enhancing our lives, is simply taking it over.

Perhaps try a little bit today to unplug and listen to the silence. See if there is something there. Or enjoy that there is nothing there at all. Quiet, organic time is something that can be very rich and fulfilling, especially when you’ve only your own thoughts and the noises outside or in the house. It’s totally amazing the things that are there that you’d never notice if you are pinned to your phone.

Adventures with the Aerogarden: Herbal Vinegar

If you don’t know what an AeroGarden is, it’s a pretty damn cool little contraption. It’s an indoor hydroponic gardening kit. And I know what you are thinking when you think of hydro. Dirty hippie.

My house is old, and drafty. Although I have a big window on the south side of the house, herbs and indoor plants don’t grow well for me. Except Pothos. Also known as mother in laws tongue. That grows great. But I have that sitting in a pot of water so that’s probably why. And it needs next to no light.

I got totally tired of watching my little plantings die. Something about this house is cursed with plants. Not outside, no, just inside. So the Aero Garden was a little tool I always wanted. Gadget. I know.

When Mr. B came home with one he’d gotten for Christmas, I knew it’d be my responsibility. He’ll eat what I grow in it, but he’s not gonna take care of it either. That’s ok. I’d be more than happy to take over.

I decided to grow herbs first. Herbs because I want to get started making herbal vinegars for Christmas next year. The longer they brew, the stronger they are. They make wonderful everything’s from marinades and additions to salsa to facial and hair rinses.

So I started the little pods up on Christmas day. Herbs are one of those things you need to use as they grow. If you let them get TOO big they’ll die, they go to seed. Pick too much of them and they’ll die. Usually you want to take no more than a third of the plant.

I noticed my Lemon Basil was going to town. I’ll only be able to take a few leaves because the plant is still young, but I can start the vinegar and just keep adding fresh plant matter as I go along. These things don’t take long to replace what you’ve taken.

So, here it is. My little pride Lemon Basil.

She’s getting to be a big girl!

I picked off a few leaves. Mature ones. Remember, never more than 1/3 of the plant. I put these in an 8 oz jelly jar for now. I’ll increase the size of the jar as more leaves are added.

I covered it with some white vinegar. You can use high quality rice and champagne vinegars if you want, but for me, white vinegar is old faithful. It marinades beautifully.

Cap it with a NON METAL cap. That means either using the plastic freeze caps Ball has for their jars OR putting some plastic wrap over the mouth of the jar THEN putting on the 2 piece band and lid. You don’t want vinegar touching metal. Metal+vinegar=corrosion. You don’t want to eat that.

Now, it’s time to label it. You can date it if you want, I don’t, because I’m going to keep adding to it. I found dissolvable labels at Menards for canning jars.  You’ve NO idea how wonderful a thing these are going to be for me. Getting labels off jars is a serious pain in the ass that requires, most of the time, that you boil them off. Urg!

The only issue I’ve got with these is that they are kind of flimsy. They also come in a roll, making writing on them BEFORE you put them on the jar impossible. They are also a weird material, so when I used a sharpie marker on it, it kind of bled. Not very pretty. Next time I’ll use pen.

Lemon basil vinegar is going to make an awesome marinade for fish and chicken. Hmmmm.

Just shake it once a day or every other day, store it somewhere cool, dry and dark, and keep adding as you keep getting more, until about half the jar is full. Keep in mind the basil will kind of wilt as it goes along, so use your best judgement as to how much is in there. You don’t want it so strong it’s going to overpower the food. Once I think I’ve got enough lemon basil vinegar to satisfy gifts and needs, the rest will get dried and crushed and stored as a spice.

So, if you’ve got indoor plants or an aerogarden collecting dust (I’ll BUY IT FROM YA IF YOU DO! I want several of these things!!!), this is a great way to make it work for you. Plus knock out some christmas gifts and tasty meals in the process.

See, I’m NOT anal. There really IS a use for everything!

Bacon Onion & Cheddar Carb Laden Flour Things

Ok, so they are biscuits. They are pioneer woman’s biscuits. Doesn’t mean I can eat them. However, I’ve always been fascinated by biscuits. It’s hard to find a REALLY good biscuit. Most of them are dry or tasteless, but when you do find a good one, they are REAL good.

So I thought this sounds perfect!

#1: It’s PW. I love her. She’s awesome.

#2: Bacon.

#3: Cheddar. Everything is better with cheddar.

#4: Onions. The wonderful, tasty little veggie, gas and bad breath inducing as it may be.

#5: Bacon

Can’t go wrong right?

So, first, I fried up some bacon. Hmmmmm, bacon.

It’s supposed to be done, but not too crispy.

Then, chop that up with some onions. I used my trust processor for this.

Then we mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and shortening using a pastry cutter.


Then whisk together the milk and the egg.

Add some oil.

By the way, did I tell you how much I love the recipe manager on my Ipad? It’s a God-send.

Now whisk the oil, egg, milk mix some more.

Now put your cheese into the flour mixture.

Then add the bacon onion mixture.

And finally add the milk mixture.

Now mix that up really good and well. It’s gonna be super super lumpy.

Grease up some muffin pans, in whatever way you will. I use Pam. And drop the mix into the pans by the heaping spoonful. I actually filled mine up pretty good because I didn’t want little muffins.

Bake them for 22 minutes at 375. And you’ll have nice golden Bacon Onion Cheddar Biscuits.

How were they? They were ok. I really want to jump for joy and tell you they were amazing. But I just though, eh, they were ok. HOWEVER, the boys loved them.

Keep in mind that I didn’t use super sharp cheddar either, because all I had was mild, and that I’m not used to carbs. So my primal palette has sort of adjusted and most carbs now tastes kind of plain to me. I suppose with the addition of more salt and sharper cheddar, and believe it or not perhaps MORE cheddar, these would have been really good. To me at least. But they got eaten up by everyone else.

So my quest for the perfect biscuit shall continue!

Even though I really don’t eat biscuits.

And when I do they make my blood go super thick.

And typically they aren’t my favorite thing in the world.

Don’t ask me why I search. I’m mental. You knew this.

Jalapeno Vinegar Goodness: So Simple It’s Evil

One year I had a buttload of jalapenos come in from the garden. They aren’t so good canned, and I didn’t want to dry them, and I couldn’t possibly use all them quick enough so I decided to make jalapeno vinegar.

Since that fateful year, I ALWAYS have at least one gallon going at a time. This year, I’d run out. It’s only January! I won’t have jalapenos again until summer. Rather than do without, I went ahead and found some super cheap on sale and made a couple of gallons.

This stuff works WONDERFUL as a marinade for chicken, fish or even beef (hmmmm, soak a roast in it, hmmmm, so good). It’s spicy, but it’s good, and although it does have a vinegar zip in the meat, it also makes the meat flavorful and super tender. And it’s SO easy to make.

First, grab a couple of containers. I use gallon glass cider jugs. You can use mason jars just make sure you either have a plastic lid for it or cover the band and lid that comes with them with plastic wrap so that the vinegar doesn’t corrode the metal.

Wash them out and sterilize them.

I’m always excited at the thought of jalapeno vinegar! I’m equally as excited to use my cider jugs. I don’t know why but I love these things!

As you can see, my dog shares in my excitement. Always eager to help.

She’s my girl and she’s also elderly, so I cut her a break. She does a very good job of holding down the floor and she’s proud of that. I love her so much!

Anyway!

Now I’m going to give you a tip that you MUST NOT avoid. Do NOT skip this step!

Wear. Gloves.

Yeah, I thought it was BS too. Until one year I chopped jalapenos for fifteen minutes and didn’t feel the burn until an hour later. Burning, BURNING. Like FIRE burning, like a grease burn. It was under my f(@king nails! I used water, soap, cold water, ice water, aloe, tried soaking my hands in milk and nothing worked. I tried to sleep with ice packs on my hands, but for a full 24 hours, it BURNED LIKE HELL.  And NOTHING gets it off, trust me. I searched the internet for HOURS for remedies and NOTHING worked. So please for the love of God and everything holy, WEAR FREAKIN GLOVES.

Ok, pretty sure I got my point across.

Now grab your peppers.

Aren’t they beautiful?

Now, you CAN roast them. I believe that most people will TELL you to roast them before making vinegar. I don’t. I’m too lazy and I don’t have a proper broiler so, I’ve always done them raw. Just make a slit on each side of the pepper with a sharp knife to allow the vinegar to really get in there. I also pop the stems off them.

Now stick them in your jug or jar. I usually fill it nearly half way because I like it strong, but do it to taste.

Then, fill the jug with vinegar. Just plain old white vinegar is what I use. The cheap stuff that comes in huge gallons.

Now, label it. Or I do. I found Ball makes dissolvable canning labels, which are awesome. Only problem is they come in a roll so they are really hard to write on and you can’t really use marker because it kinda bleeds.

Now you’ve got yourself some jalapeno vinegar. Wait at least a month before using it so it really soaks up the jalapeno flavor. Soak your chicken or beef in it for a few hours to overnight and just cook. Usually it doesn’t need much seasoning after a good soak! I’m so excited!

So is the dog!

Ok, well I’m sure in her dreams she’s totally excited for my jalapeno vinegar. That she can’t eat. And would probably turn her nose up at.

You get the picture 😉

Making A File Calendar: You NEED One

I used to have this file calendar. I don’t remember WHERE I got it from but it saved my bill paying life.

I hung it in the kitchen. It has files on each month, ones where you can rip out the file at the end of the month to store. As bills or whatnots came in, I slipped them into the folder to be gone through at the end of the week. It made life much, much easier.

When I went to go buy one for this year, there were none to be had. Even online, they were either really expensive or on backorder. Sonofabitch. So, I did what I do: I devised a plan to make my own.

First, let me tell you, this isn’t an all in one 12 month calendar. You’ll have to switch them out at the end of the month, HOWEVER, the file should be going into the filing cabinet anyway, so that’s not a big deal for me.

Here’s what I did:

I bought a pack of pretty color file folders. Actually, I sent the Texan out to do this. There were just a couple bucks.

There’s kind of a problem with these. They’ve got lines on the front. Where I planned on putting the actual calendar.

That’s ok. I’ll use the back. Crisis averted.

Now punch a hole in the top back (or in this case the front) where you are going to want to hang it from.

Now, staple the CRAP out of the sides of it. This will make sure the pocket stays closed so you can slip your bills in it.

On the blank side, take a ruler and draw in pencil the calendar. I do it in pencil and then go over it in marker, that way I can erase if I mess up.


Now, that should be the end of it. But it wasn’t.

First, I didn’t liked the way it looked.

Second, doing all that was too much of a pain in the butt to do for all twelve months.

Third, I’d put the staples on the wrong side, the sharp end was facing out. Duh.

Fourth, I realize that little hole I punched was just going to rip from the weight of everything that was going to be in there. So, take two.

This time, I printed out calendars from the internet. Printable2012calendars.com had exactly what I wanted.

I cut the edges off and the month’s name so it would fit the front of the calendar AND cover up those lines.

I then reinforced where I was going to punch the hole. I did this by putting some electrical tape where the hole would be THEN punching a hole through that. It’s not the most perfect reinforcement, but it works.

Do it to the other side too

NOW punch the hole

Now I could have glued the calendar on. But I didn’t wanna. I saw the pretty colored electrical tape, which I’d bought because they were out of black. Glad they were! I decided to use that to secure my calendar onto the folder.

Staple it up the sides again, label it with the month and you’ve got yourself a file folder calendar.

You can get REAL creative with this, using pretty paper or different tape, stamps, whatever. To me, I wanted to have a little fun but functionality was key. Here are some more I made.

Use whatever you have on hand. I just happened not to have any file folders so I had to buy some, but regular office manilla ones will do fine.

It just makes the mail clutter SO SO much easier for me. Receipts and bills don’t get lost. Yes, I know, I could do online statements, and I do for a lot of them. But I’m absent minded and sometimes they don’t send out those bill reminders via email the way they should, so this ends up SO much easier for me.

Plus, it lets you flex your creative muscles a little bit. See what you’ve got around the house. I almost tried to do this with paper plates. I’ve made mail hangers with paper plates before. But being such as I have no children living in the house, I couldn’t really pass that off as a school art project and make the paper plate wall hangings look appropriate in my otherwise pretty obviously adult centered living room.

Fancy Quesadillas

I ran across pioneer woman’s spinach mushroom quesadilla recipe. Living with a Texan, I know he’s a big fan of those.  He’s not usually a fan of mushrooms, but he will tolerate them and I think he’s growing to like them. He likes spinach a whole lot. Mr. B loves both, so I figured this was a win win.

Usually my quesadillas are just tortillas with Chihuahua cheese smashed in the middle and pan grilled, so the idea of making my life harder with a fancier recipe is of course appealing. Never in my LIFE have I spent so much time making a damn quesadilla.

First you take some mushrooms and slice them up.

Being that I’m the lazy, gadget wielding bitch you’ve come to know and love, of course I didn’t slice these by hand.

Never thought mushrooms could look ominous did ya?

See how easy that was?

Now, you melt butter in a pan. I happened to have a pan handy, however, I’d used said pan to fry bacon a few minutes before. It’s cast iron, so it really soaks up the bacon juice. Instead of washing it, I went ahead and drained off all the bacon fat and just stuck the butter in there. I mean, really? What’s NOT better with bacon fat and drippings?

Now add the mushrooms and sprinkle with some salt, and saute them up.

Now the recipe calls for adding wine. Well, I didn’t have any wine that wasn’t super sweet Christmas wine. I also don’t really typically like wine IN my food. So, I did what any woman in my position would do. I used chicken broth. Actually, I made chicken broth from granules.

I went ahead and poured in the broth.

You cook that until nearly all the liquid is reduced and place them to the side.

Now you basically do the same thing with the spinach except since spinach can’t cook that long you only add a few tablespoons of wine, or in my case, broth.

Now you put those two things together to the side.

Now you are going to prepare your cheese. It called for Monterey Jack, which I had some of. I also had some cheddar, swiss and pepper jack hanging around in small amounts in the fridge. So I mixed them all together and grated the crap out of them. Not by hand of course. Food processor. Hello!

I opened up my goat cheese, which this recipe calls for and I thought what a cool addition. I’d never heard of adding that to a quesadilla before. By the way, opening up goat cheese is a pain in the ass. Easy open container. Right.

Now, we start assembling the quesadilla. The recipe says to spread butter on each side. I decided to melt butter and brush it on one side right before going into the pan and brush it on the other side once I’d flipped it. Saves the mess in my opinion.

Now you put some cheese inside the tortilla.

The shadow is optional. Sorry.

Now you place some spinach mushroom filling and more cheese in there.


There’s that damn shadow again.

Ok, then you dot the filling with goat cheese and place another tortilla on top. Butter the tortilla and put the buttered side face down in the pan. Mind you: This recipe says to GRILL them. Well, I don’t have a grill on my oven so this will have to do.

I didn’t spread it around in the tortilla too much so it’s bumpy in the middle. I’d rather have a pregnant quesadilla going into the pan than a sloppy mess on my floor trying to hold it together while it goes in the pan, or, worse yet, the cheese oozing out the sides while it’s cooking. I’d rather smoosh it while it’s in the pan to desired non-pregnant-ness.

Then butter the side that’s face up and flip it.

And you’ll have this in a few minutes.

How was it? It was good. It wasn’t amazing, again, like I expected. BUT. I don’t think that’s the recipes fault at all. I made serious variations to it.

I didn’t grill it, I didn’t use just monterey jack cheese, I use chicken broth instead of wine and I used low carb tortillas.

Mr. B thought they were amazing, Texan’s only complaint was that he wasn’t a fan of spinach in his quesadillas apparently. Spinach yes, in this, no. Keep in mind as well that this family is accustomed to VERY plain quesadillas. Take ANY family who’s used to plain something and give them the fanciest something and they may not love it. It’s just how it goes.

However, I’m still planning on making the REAL version. And I suggest you do too, cause it just sounds so damn good.