Some things I’ve made recently

by Ginger on January 27, 2016

in Random

One of the things that’s been a bit of a bonus of being unemployed* is that I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking the past few months. There have been the old standbys (green chile stew, some version of my easy tortilla soup, enchiladas (which I need to put a recipe up somewhere), spaghetti, etc.), but I’ve also been trying some new things.  I thought I’d share some of what I’ve made recently that I’ve loved, just for fun. (Also, since some of these were holiday baking projects, to have them in one place for next year!)

Anyway, on to the food! (Be prepared, there’s a lot of butter below.)

These green beans with lemon vinaigrette are a lovely, light, bright side dish for just about anything.

I made a white chili really similar to this one, except instead of the salsa verde, I used fresh green chili & 1/2 a can of green enchilada sauce. Super easy, super delicious.

I think someone on Twitter linked to these garlic butter roasted mushrooms from Smitten Kitchen one day, and I want to kiss that person on the mouth because these were lick the bowl clean good. Not to mention super duper simple. Serve with some toasted baguette, and it’s simply amazingly delicious.

Speaking of Smitten Kitchen, I ate a ridiculous number of these cranberry orange rolls, but I swapped out the icing she made to this Cinnabon icing dupe (both are easy, the icing is…not remotely low calorie/healthy. It was delicious). I also froze the leftovers of that icing and put it on graham crackers later. Oh, who am I kidding, I mostly ate the leftovers with a spoon.

N.C. & I were both SUPER skeptical about these “funeral sandwiches” because they involve marinating bread and look, I know some people like it, but soggy bread (a la open face sandwiches) is just not my jam (there are two exceptions to this so far: biscuits and gravy, and a really good beef sandwich w/au jus. But that’s it). But, we gave it a shot…and then promptly made them again a few days later because they were just SO DAMN GOOD. The bread somehow gets marinated, but not soggy if you cook them long enough, and I don’t understand how, but they’re delicious ok?

These whipped orange shortbread cookies that Hillary posted were one of my very favorite things I made at Christmas. I had a hard time sending them to the teacher cookie exchange, that’s for sure. One thing about them–they’re easy prep (if you’ve got a stand mixer), but they are a little fragile if you’re not paying attention. I messed up a couple of things with the first batch, that I fixed with subsequent batches: 1) I made the first ones too big and 2) I checked them a few times in the oven. They were SO fragile and soft when they came out of the oven, I couldn’t even get them off the cookie sheet. I salvaged those by putting the whole cookie sheet in the fridge & then removing them once they were completely cooled, but just to be on the safe side, they stayed in the fridge (beautifully I might add). In the subsequent batches, I made smaller cookies (mine spread, though not a lot), and I LEFT THEM ALONE the full 20 minutes. They were still soft, but not the way the first batch had been. (Next time I make them, and I WILL make them again I probably will also try not to soften the butter quite as much as I did, and I’ll follow all the time directions exactly. I think I ended up beating the batter for more than 10 minutes, and I think it was maybe too much). But even with those foibles on my part, they were decadent, melt in your mouth delicious and I LOVED them.

Lastly, this isn’t so much a recipe as a “hack” (I’m starting to really dislike that phrase for everyday use, yet here I am using it): use a muffin tin to make brownies, and then you can add different mix-ins & toppings! I put toffee in some, nuts in some, and kept some plain. It was glorious. I should note, I tried this method because of Alton Brown, who said this could give you an entire pan full of edge piece brownies, but you should know, mine didn’t come out with crispy edges because I slightly undercooked them. They were lovely, but next time I will overcook a bit to get those crispy edges, but just a note for those of you who are on the other side of the brownie edges debate.

*Look, I’m working on being more positive, ok?

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Snippets, again

by Ginger on January 19, 2016

in Random

We seem to be in some weird electronics and appliances vortex of doom: our dryer stopped spinning, the oven only decides to turn on 1/2 the time, I dropped my phone in J’s bath (it fell out of my pocket) then it died (RIP all my text chains), and our cable box doesn’t record anymore. Let’s just say I’m keeping a VERY close eye on the computers.

***

Luckily (?) for me, we kept our old phones, so I have a dusty, clunky, slow, old phone that doesn’t open a bunch of my apps & somehow deleted a bunch of my contacts. Yay? I think I fixed the contact thing, but I’m mostly just really annoyed with the whole thing. It’s better than having to buy a new phone, but just barely.

***

J was on winter break for 3 weeks and 1 day. That’s…too long for winter break, lemme tell you. We may have just barely not throttled each other. Then he had yesterday off too. GO TO SCHOOL KID.

That said, as much as I white knuckled it through some days, I also enjoyed having the unique opportunity to spend so much time with J. I am NOT cut out to be a SAHM, but it was still nice to have a chunk of time with my kiddo.

(I’m still REALLY glad he’s back in school).

***

Current things I’m into: Hamilton the musical (and it’s creator, Lin Manuel Miranda. Geez, what an amazing dude he is), Parks & Rec, watching entire seasons of superhero shows (The Flash & Arrow most recently), cooking/baking/eating (I’ve got a post coming with some of the stuff I’ve made recently that you should make too), trying to eat more veggies (any recipes to share? I’d love them!), waiting for the library holds to come up on every single series I’m reading.

***

Still looking for a job. Still hate looking for a job.

***

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It’s that time of year, when the recap posts start flying, and the Instagram retrospectives take over your feed, and everyone looks back on the last 12 months before looking forward to the next 12. You won’t see any of that from me, though, because my feelings on 2015 can basically be summed up thusly:

*fart noise*

This year was stupid, and it was hard, and it just sucked, ok? There were good parts, the rare occasional great parts even (massive love to the people who showed up for me, and kept showing up for me, even when I was in the pit and no use to anyone), but the overwhelming umbrella feeling of 2015 was just shit. It was hard physically, it was hard mentally, it was hard emotionally, it was hard financially, it. was. hard.

And, me being me, I’ve spent a fair amount of time analyzing what I’ve struggled with (most of which goes deeper than what I’ve posted here or on social media), and I think I’ve come to a conclusion that one of the reasons it hit me so hard this year is because…well, damnit, I thought this year was going to be MY year. I was so hopeful, so excited, so energized at the beginning of the year. 2015 was going to be the year I made big changes, and moved forward to the next, awesome chapter in my life. 2015 BABY!

And I think one of the reasons that everything from this year hit so hard, is because I was so hopefully optimistic, and damnit, I feel foolish for having thought any of that, felt any of that. I kind of want to go back to the me in January of 2015 and say “girl, everything that’s going to happen is going to happen (some for good reasons, some not so much), but it’s going to knock you on your ass if you don’t take this down a peg or two.” I let myself get my hopes up, and there’s a not-inconsequential part of me that feels stupid for that. And I think it’s made a hard year even harder to wrap my head around.

Despite that, though, somehow I’m cautiously…I won’t say optimistic, but something close to that…that 2016 has good things in store for me, and for my family. If only because I DEMAND A REFUND ON MY OPTIMISM, WHERE’S ALL THE GOOD SHIT UNIVERSE? Ahem. And maybe a little because it has to be better, just, like statistically, right? But also because I’m going to work my freaking tail off to make it so. This year was the year that pulled me down, next year is the year to rise up.

So I’m done looking back on 2015. I’m done rehashing and recapping and reliving.

Onward, upward, to all the better days ahead. I’m all about 2016.

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Snippets again

by Ginger on December 17, 2015

in Random

It’s been cold here, and let me tell you, my foot is NOT a fan. We went to a potluck tonight at the kid’s dojo (so shoes off required), and my foot basically just clenched itself up into a tight little ball and went “nuh-uh. talk to me when it’s 70 again.”

But I’ll admit, it’s kind of nice to have an excuse to break out the cozy blankets and hot tea every night. So, foot, stop yer bitching, the rest of us is enjoying what passes for winter here.

***

The kid is off school for just over 3 weeks for winter break.

Send help.

***

No but really. With me being unemployed, we can’t send him to camp, so he’ll be home. I’ve got to figure out some structure to our days, or we’re all going to go insane. We’ve set up some potential play dates, and I’ve got plans for parks, trails, and bike rides, but…three weeks man. It’s a long time for my kid who does better with the day to day structure of school.

***

We’re going to see Star Wars on Friday (matinee, on a weekday, hopefully slightly less insane than other times?), and I’m pretty excited. I’m not the hugest Star Wars fanatic out there (I mean, I like the original 3, don’t get me wrong, but it’s never been an obsession level thing for me), but I’m pretty stoked to see this one.

***

My to-do list for Christmas is pretty small at this point. I have one last stocking thing to buy, need to ship family gifts, wrap J’s gifts, & buy the stuff for our Christmas dinner next week (super easy dinner this year: roasted chicken, stove top stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and maybe some glazed carrots or roasted brussels sprouts. Done.). That’s…it. Yeah. I’m pretty sure that’s it.

I may not be a fan of having to do a lighter Christmas than usual, but I am kind of a fan of this lightened workload portion of things.

***

Ah, I lied, I remembered one last thing we have to do: take the kid shopping to help him buy gifts for us. We’re going to give him a few dollars, and have him buy a Christmas gift for each of us from him (we already did this with the grandparents. No spoilers though family!). We’re trying to work on his understanding of giving vs receiving during the holidays, so it’s actually something that is pretty important to us right now. Here’s hoping it’s not an absolute disaster to do the weekend before Christmas (we didn’t want to do it earlier. He’s 6, he’s not so good with the keeping secrets part of gift giving).

***

I have a post brewing in my head looking back on 2015, but I’m processing a bunch of thoughts about it before I write it (for once! ha!). But in the meantime, can I just say how FREAKING GLAD I AM THIS YEAR IS ALMOST IN THE REARVIEW? I’m legitimately excited that this year is almost over. I know, I know, it’s just a date, but I don’t care. It feels like I can see a finish line, and damnit, I can’t wait to get there.

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Moar Empties!

by Ginger on December 11, 2015

in Random

Hey, so I’m finally getting around to posting part two of my empties video from a while back. Enjoy my rambling!

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