Category Archives: I Made Something

LISTEN UP VEGETARIANS: This Casserole is Your Holy Grail

Tori Amos’ brilliant Boys for Pele is 20 years old this month.  Which means a few things:  I’ve spent a lot of time trying to verify the truth of whether or not the pope indeed has a rubber robe, and I’m really fucking old.  It seems like a lifetime ago.  I lived in another state.  I had a different everything.  But this album holds up.  Tori holds up, I don’t care what anyone says.  I know she’s weird.  Sometimes weird is pretty fucking rad.  Anyway, her lyrics are insane, and as I listened to this album after a too-long hiatus from it, I did what I always do when good music is on and I have time:  I cook.  Meanwhile, since I’ve recently lost my beloved Mister Wallace dog, my cat Fawkes has turned into a total attention whore.  It’s wonderful and snuggly, unless I’m not snuggling and trying to do other shit.  Like cook.  While I have been listening to this album and making this dish, he has been howling at the top of his lungs.  Maybe he just likes Tori.

So I have spent the last month or so trying to perfect this cabbage roll recipe.  Finally after making it three times and being pleased with it each time more than the last, I said FUCK IT NO MORE ROLLING CABBAGE IMMA DECONSTRUCT THIS BITCH INTO A CASSEROLE.  While I got them to totally look like cabbage rolls, it’s just too hard not to break, and honestly, they’re difficult to eat like that.  I’d much rather just pile shit in a bowl and eat it.   America has spoken.  I like vegetables.  I’m guessing if you are reading this, you do too.  I present:

STARFUCKER CABBAGE CASSEROLE 

It’s so fucking good I want to share it with you.

SHIT YOU WILL NEED:

1 head cabbage, chopped and steamed
3 sweet potatoes, baked, skin off
1-1/2 c. mushrooms, chopped
4 c. quinoa/brown rice blend, cooked
2 med. zucchini, sauteed (optional)
1 med. onion, sauteed (optional)
2 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 c. Italian bread crumbs
1 jar Marinara sauce (or whatever.  Make your own.  I’m lazy.)
thyme, fresh or otherwise
basil, fresh or otherwise
oregano, same
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
(all seasoning to taste)

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Mash the sweet potatoes WITH YOUR HANDS.

SHIT YOU WILL DO:

Have the cabbage cut up and steamed, just chop it kind of roughly.  Discard the weird center.  Bake your sweet potatoes the night before or something, because that takes an hour.  You don’t want to waste precious time.  In a bowl, mix the chopped mushrooms, 1 cup of Parmesan, the cooked quinoa/rice blend, and the sweet potato meat together.  I just squeezed the potatoes with my hands.  Satisfying.  Mush it all up so it’s like a delicious paste.  Saute your onion and zucchini, have it sitting off to the side.  I actually add the thyme, oregano, basil, some salt and pepper, and minced garlic cloves to this saute.  But you could really add all that at any time.

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Cabbage/zucchini layer #1.

Preheat oven to 350.  Take a 9×11 casserole dish, put a layer of cabbage and zucchini/onion (about 1/2 of it) on the bottom.  then sploch the sweet potato mixture on top of that.  Kind of spread it out so it makes a layer.  Add another layer of the cabbage/zucchini/onion.  Then cover with 3/4 of the jar of marinara sauce (about 2 cups?  Maybe a little more?)  Get it nice and saucy.  Spread the other 1 cup of Parmesan on top.  Scatter the bread crumbs on top if you want.  I did.  And it rocked.

Cook it for about 30-40 minutes.  Everything is already cooked, all you’re doing is making it hot and cooking it all together.

Try not to punch me in the face next time you see me, because this is so good you’ll want to.  ENJOY, MY VEGETABLE-EATING FRIENDS.

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No Pappy, it’s not a lasagna.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Garage: Metaphor for Life

Disclaimer:  If you usually come here looking for laughs, you might find a few in this post, but you might find it more poignant.  If you hate poignant, you might want to just roll out now.  I can’t give you everything.

I decided that after years of neglect and basically just throwing all things I wanted to avoid into our garage, it would be a good idea to rethink that philosophy and try to get in there and clean it.  I thought about this for 8 years.  That’s right.  EIGHT.

This was, undeniably, a task I did not want to tackle.  It seemed insurmountable.  I mean, I had successfully avoided the Garage Issue for a long time.  Because honestly, as soon as we moved into this house we immediately turned the garage into The Land That Time Forgot.  You could technically move around in there, but not well or without difficulty.  It was filled with useless stuff.  Oh, did you need a double vanity with a granite top?  What about a power washer?  Perhaps I can interest you in a smoke machine?  It was a cornucopia of shit on which we could have made a fortune on Craigslist.

But as I said, this shit was daunting, and it wasn’t just a bunch of big weird stuff, there was plenty small stuff as well.  SO MANY NUTS AND BOLTS.  Just strewn everywhere.  So messy and dust-laden and spider-filled.  “Let me in there,” my spirit called out.  “Fuck you,” answered my weary heart.  Until one day.  One beautiful day in a Texas July like no other July.  We had a streak of cool weather (and I mean waaaaay cooler than normal) and I just bit the bullet, opened the garage door, and stared at things.

I think I stared at everything for 10 minutes.  Then something in my brain said, well, nothing’s going to happen if you just keep staring at it.  And thus, I began.

It really amounted to throwing almost all of it away.  And by “away”, I mean I set all that shit out on the curb.  I started, and then my husband joined me later that weekend in Project Free Prizes for Neighbors.  We had people there looking through our stuff as soon as we set it out.  And honestly, that made me happier than any amount of money Craigslist could have ever brought me.  1)  It was gone RIGHT THEN and 2) someone wanted it, they got it.  For free.  That’s great for them, and all we had to do was walk down the driveway with it.  I gathered and organized much of the nut-screw-bolt situation we had going on, placed it on shelves that made sense.  I organized the boxes of Yule decorations I wanted to keep.  Shit was clean-ish, y’all!  I felt a huge sense of not just accomplishment, but a true sense of weight being lifted.  I declared to anyone who would listen that it was perhaps the greatest thing I have ever done.  It felt THAT GOOD.

I have been successfully parking in my garage ever since, and while there’s still work to be done, it’s leaps and bounds better than it was.

It’s not hard for any of you to read between the lines of metaphor.  But for those of you who are musing to yourselves “ok your garage is clean, welcome to being an adult and not living like a fucking hoarder” I say:  It’s bigger than that.  Way.  It’s taken 8 years for me to deal with the crippling obstacle that was my garage.  That doesn’t seem like very long when you compare it with the lifetime of other shit I had successfully (or not) avoided in LIFE.  I avoided it at an extremely functional level as far as your little eyes could perceive.  The twisted beauty of a garage is that as long as you keep the door closed, no one really has any idea of what kind of mess is behind it.  I treated my own person much like that garage:  Just a void where I pushed away anything I thought didn’t matter.  What a shocker when I realized that it actually mattered very much.  I avoided by drinking.  I numbed by taking meds because they helped me be “even.”  I comforted myself with the all-encompassing fuzzy blanket sewn with the Love of Other People’s Problems.  I CREATED A LIFE AROUND ALL OF THIS.  And I woke up every day with my first utterances being angry, hate-filled, woe-is-me-isms.  Good times, y’all.  Good fucking times.

Fast forward, and skipping all the therapy and delving and soul-searching (because hey, that shit never ends, we can talk about that ANY time):

It has been over 6 months since I’ve had a drink.

It has been over 8 months since I’ve taken prescription medication.

I AM NOT LOOKING FOR YOUR PRAISE.  This is what has worked for me.  It is my experience.  It is not everyone’s.  And while I can be proud of myself, I’m not special.  I am just like everyone else, with my own issues and ways of dealing with them.  But that’s just it, isn’t it:  I’m dealing with them.  Not just pushing it into a hidden space.

I wish I could say they have been the BEST MONTHS OF MY LIFE EVER, and while they have been infinitely better than many times in my life, I’ve been raw, vulnerable, and without any door to fucking hide behind.  It is uncomfortable.  It is sometimes painful.  It is, at all times, awkward and surprising and immobilizing and unfathomable,  and a giant dichotomy inside my brain that I mostly don’t have any way to resolve.  And that is why two words are the only ones that can make any sense to me most of the time:

LET GO.

Because hanging on is for suckers.

I guess now everyone gets to find out who I really am without that door hiding the mess.  Including me.

Should be fun, and I’m really not saying that sarcastically at all.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.  And, more than anything, I am completely cognizant that it took all the other experiences to get here.  I am grateful for every single minute that has led me to where I am, for a garage that I’m not scared to be in, and a door that’s open for perhaps the first time.

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Top 10 Things I’ve Learned In One Day

10.  I don’t have any concept of what I look like in public any longer.

9.  You can totally fix a broken flip-flop with gum or paper and it will last at least up the driveway to the house.

8.  There is very weird, very brightly colored adult programming on at 5am on HBO.

7.  I can actually go a long time without food.  Don’t lecture.  I’m very busy.

6.  My vocal range is no longer like Teena Marie’s but IS like Boy George’s.

5.  A “rape van” and a “rap van” are essentially the same thing.

4.  Low-cal orange juice tastes like Sunny D.

3.  Pretty sure I talk to myself, out loud, ALL THE TIME.

2.  My sister is a damn lifesaver disguised as a sister.

1.  I do not tell my close friends and loved ones how just much I love them near enough.  Because they deserve to be told every second of every day.

NOT Teena Marie.

Carry on, and enjoy your weekend, suckas!!!

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I’ve Got Quite a Bit to Say About Red Velvet Cheesecake Pops

It is 6:05am on a Friday. Good Friday. I am destined to make this not just Good Friday, but Great Friday, because my hands are covered in cheesecake and I’m muttering unintelligible shit under my breath. “There’s got to be a better…why won’t the…motherfucker.”

As you may have guessed, I enjoy a challenge. So no one was surprised when I made a fig cheesecake with a hazelnut crust, shelling and crushing said hazelnuts on my own. If you’ve never gotten the skin off of a bag of hazelnuts, WELL. You clearly are a lazy jackass who does not know shit about cooking. Conversely, you can buy them already shelled. To which I say, fuck you.

The fig cheesecake thus far being the most outrageous and labor-intensive thing I have ever made – minus the bread I made after I grew my own yeast in my refrigerator for a number of weeks, which sounds just as disgusting as it really is – I decided that I should really branch out into the cake ball arena. Why? Who doesn’t love a cake ball, that’s why. And it’s my insanely fantastic friend’s 30th birthday. The exact same friend for whom I made the fucking fig cheesecake. I really just need to start being the asshole of the group and be all, “…uh yeah happy birthdaaae here’s some chips in a fancy BAG!” Although if these turn out as glorious as that bastard cheesecake did, she will be thrilled beyond words. Which is saying quite a mouthful.

I find a recipe that combines many of the things she loves. Red Velvet Cake!!! Cheesecake!!! ON A STICK!! COVERED IN CAAAAAANNNDY!!!!!!! And so the arduous task begins.

Step 1: Bake cake per box directions. No problem. I can totally do this. If I cannot follow directions on a box, we have bigger problems.

Step 2: Let cake cool completely. Yep, no work involved in that one. Phew. So far, this is proving really EASY!

Step 3: Grind up all cake in food processor. Um, ok. Not difficult, but JESUS CRISTO, do they make red velvet cake mix out of 10% cake, 90% red food coloring? Because now it’s all over my kitchen. Rad. I mean, Red. Whatever. It is also quite moist (ugh) but this aids the food coloring to kind of stick to all of my surfaces. Clorox Wipes, the lazy man’s elbow grease. Great for the environment!

Step 4: Add a shit-ton of frosting to crumblecake. Make into red paste. Done. And it’s delicious. Let’s stop here, because I can just present her with this bowl of frosting and she’d probably be ok.

Step 5: Roll into tiny balls. Messy, yes. My kitchen may be free of red food coloring now, but I am clearly not. It appears as if I have murdered someone by hacking them to death with my razor-like hands.

Step 6: Cool in refrigerator. Sleepytime!

Step 7: This sounds harmless. Procure cheesecake. Cover cake balls in bits of cheesecake. ALRRRRIIIIGGGHT. This appears to be the most difficult step, per all the comments on the recipe site. Everyone is complaining about the cheesecake being way too crumbly, it not sticking to the cake ball, etc. So I have the brilliant idea of softening the cheesecake. I let it sit out for 1/2 a day. It is now a delicious, cheesecakey goo, ready to be applied to the cake ball. Uh-oh. It is very sticky now. Very. Like, I can’t get it off my hands onto the rapidly warming cake ball. Fuck. FUUUUCK. I try making a small cheesegoo-shaped disc to form around the ball. This just sticks to my hand. I try basically frosting the ball. With my fingers. This is clearly the only method. They look like shit. They look like white, roundish balls covered in coconut (there is no coconut) with red showing through. I have 60 of these to cover in the cheesegoocake. SIXTY.

Step 7-1/2: Fuck that, that sucked. I’m going to make my foam tray to hold the cake pops. I unwrap the foam block and foam glitter goes everywhere. First of all, this is supposed to be straight-up foam, sans glitter. What the fuck. Yet again, I turn to the Almighty Clorox Wipe to get all the foamdroppings off of my floor. It’s all over me, too, so by 7am I have been covered in glitter, cheesecake and what looks like blood. This sounds pretty damn festive for someone who doesn’t celebrate Easter. Festive, and totally appropriate. Also, the foam-foil-stick tray looks like a very bleak winter forest. This sends me into a depression.

winter of sadness pops

Popless. Barren. Cold.

Step 8: Step away for a little while. Make an omelet. Have a drink. Who cares if it’s 9am. No one is judging you. Why thank you, Step 8. Will do.

Step 9: Cover cheesegoovelvetballs in graham cracker crumbs. This would go easier if it was less sticky. For real. Also, I am a mess again. This time, covered in cheesegoo and graham crackers. I am going to gain 10 pounds through osmosis. Also, they look like hush puppies now, which makes me long for fried fish.

Step 10: HAHAHAHA you think you are close to the end but you are not. Fuck you, Step 10.

Step 11: Put balls back in refrigerator. Oh, that wasn’t too bad.

Step 12: Dip all 60 ends of the lollipop sticks in candy melts that you have presumably already melted in the microwave. Just the sticks? That’s what I said, fuckface. Ok. But I have two different colors! Too bad. Dip them. Dip them all. Alternate. You’ll live. Then shove stick in pops. Be careful not to poke all the way through the pop. REALLY???? I think I can tell where the pop stop…shit. When do I get to put these back in the fridge. I’m tired. Now, please, before you fuck something else up.

Step 13: Coat balls with melted candy. swirl and tap. Like my Bare Minerals makeup? Yes, I guess. That seems foolish. It doesn’t even look like you have makeup on. I don’t. Then shut the fuck up. Place popballs on foam board to dry. PUT IN REFRIGERATOR.

I hate you, red velvet cheesecake pop.

You are exactly as delicious as promised.

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These will be the death of me.

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