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Real Life Birth Control

February 13, 2018
Real Life Birth Control

I don’t know why they don’t teach this real life birth control in schools, but I promise if they explain to kids of having-sex-for-the-first-time age that this is the shit you’ll have to deal with in another 11-15 years they probably will abstain or at least make sure they actually use birth control.

Nothing is worse that waking up, turning on the coffee maker and not HAVING A FUCKING MUG to drink it from.

I had to go down to the basement to grab a mug that had graduated from the upstairs kitchen to the downstairs kitchen (because you can’t throw away or donate the mugs that your kids give you from camp, Wisconsin Dells or any of the other travels they make in life, even though they are too small for coffee), to use for my coffee because the only other option was a fucking soup bowl. 

Real Life Birth Control

That’s right, I almost poured coffee into a mug with a dead spider and what looks like some tiny critter’s poop. 

I don’t need coffee anymore because I am wide awake.

Real Life Birth Control

I have a gazillion coffee mugs. In fact, when they are all clean there isn’t enough room for them. There was one in the dishwasher along with the soup mugs. There were no mugs in the cabinet which means all the mugs are upstairs, probably filled with dried milk, mold or some such other grossness that there isn’t time to soak before I have coffee.

This and the empty toilet paper roll will be the death of me. These things will be the things that finally make me snap. The neighbors will be all like “Yeah, she was nice, quiet, we talked over the fence. I never would have guessed she’d lose it like this. I mean don’t all teenagers bring plates and dishes into their room?”

My neighbor doesn’t get it.

So, as you can imagine, yelling ensued at 6:30 this morning. 

Bring down all the mugs and other dishes. I actually didn’t yell, but I was yelling in my head. In fact, in my head I was screaming “bring down all the mutherfucking coffee mugs, bowls, and whatever else the fuck you have up there!!”.

I’d been asking for a week for her to bring the shit down. I knew it was getting out of hand, but honestly, I was afraid to go up there and see that she finds comfort and solace in a room where she allows these sorts of science experiments to take place.

This isn’t all of it, and you can’t see the worst. There’s been a trending story lately of a woman who had some worms in her eyes. I can’t even click on it because it sounds so horrible, but this shit takes a close second to eye worms.

If I’d known about this when I was getting married and having kids, I’d have gotten a puppy instead. Instead of making high school kids drag an egg or a sack of flour around for a week, they should have to wash dishes that have pasta that has dried out and is clinging to the side of the bowl for dear life. They should have to scrape spinach (god, I hope it was spinach) off the bowl because no amount of soaking will make it move. They should have the pleasure of opening an enclosed water bottle that has had 2% milk in it for the last three weeks. 

Parenthood, it’s not for the weak.

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This Ain’t No Highlight Reel

February 6, 2018
this ain't no highlight reel

Be warned, this ain’t no highlight reel. My friend Kathy, from The Junk Drawer, posted a video on Facebook this morning. Kathy tends to post more cats and stuff from Reddit than sports so I figured there must be more to it than sports. The video is an interview with Nick Foles after winning the Super Bowl where he offers some inspiring words of advice. You can watch it here.

In a nutshell he says don’t be afraid to fail. 

And it is great advice, in fact it’s something for which I’ve become quite proficient. 

But that wasn’t what caught my attention. I had the sound off when I watched the video – like I said, Kathy posts a lot funny cat videos and you don’t need sound for them – and most videos have closed captioning embedded in the video, so I can just read what he is saying.

What he said that caught my eye was this: “In our society today, with Instagram and Twitter, it’s a highlight reel.”

Now, this isn’t earth shattering news. We’ve talked about how Facebook and other social media can be bad for our self esteem because we compare our worst days with everyone else’s best days. We don’t even have to compare our worst days, any days compared to what you see on Facebook is enough to have most folks running for the hills.

I’m no exception. 

I’d just returned from my therapist’s office where I cried for half the session because my life sucks.

I don’t post that shit on Facebook. I post funny little things that amuse me and hopefully others. I post funny little things that annoy me that everyone can agree with like bad drivers or some such trivial crap. I don’t post, for the most part, about the struggles I have been sinking in lately.

It may be that it’s February and that’s just a shitty month to get through – it’s dark, it’s for lovers and there’s too much cake this month. But mostly it’s because I don’t want people to know what a loser I am.

This Ain’t No Highlight Reel

And before you all tell me how great I am – I know I’m not a loser, it’s just the thing I tell myself when the day to day shit is hitting the fan.

For instance today I started off kicking myself about the shit I kick myself about every morning. I am behind on laundry, I forgot to make lunch for the kid and was running behind, I had the therapist’s appointment, which I’d forgotten about and was now going mess up my morning routine and there are dust bunnies everywhere. They’re not even hiding under the furniture anymore, they’re out dancing in the middle of the room and reproducing like, well, bunnies.

I was kicking myself about all that when I decided I wasn’t going to do that today. Instead I was going to focus on what I had accomplished – I built a kickass website yesterday and created a pretty cool marketing plan that should be easy to implement. I got my daughter to all of her appointments last week and still got my work finished. The IEP isn’t done, but I’m ever so slowly learning what I need to do to keep it moving forward. I had some great ideas for things I wanted to write and was looking forward to working on that.

And then I checked my bank balance and noticed I was -$300. Apparently in a fit of organization I set a couple of bills on auto pay without bothering to figure out how I was going to cover them. It was completely my fuck up and now it was going to start snowballing with overdraft fees.

In the 45 seconds it took me to check my bank balance I let the wind out of my sails. I dropped my kid off at the bus stop and then broke down in tears – ugly cry kind of tears – as I drove off. I started thinking about how much my life sucks and how I just can’t get my shit together. How nothing I do seems to be enough to get me out of this trajectory I’ve been on for most of my life and how much I just need a break from it all. 

I even prayed to God, someone or something I am not sure exists, because I have nowhere else to go for help. 

And then I beat myself up for asking him since I’d been praying to him since I was a child and so far it’s just been a one way conversation. 

I even considered selling my soul to the devil, but after contemplating what that might mean decided I couldn’t do that. I would be fine being damned to hell for eternity, but if I had to do something like hurt another person or animal, I just couldn’t do it. 

And these are just the tip of the iceberg. I still have all the problems surrounding my ex, family drama, my computer freaked out last week and I lost three days of work because of it, and no one remembered my birthday except Facebook friends. And as I type this I am aware what a whiner I sound like. Which is why this shit doesn’t make it to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. 

Though, now that I think about it, Instagramming the dust bunnies might be fun.

I’ve even got more problems than this but I’m at 870 words and know I’ve lost most of you. Hell, I’m boring myself.

The point is, this is not a highlight reel. If you’re having a tough time of it you can be sure someone else is too. You are not alone in your suffering. Everyone has these moments, some more than others but we all have problems. 

And that makes us all losers!

And there should be some comfort in that, right?

I don’t have an ending for this. I have no point to make except to say that I know I am not the only one who has these stupid struggles. I feel inadequate (totally nailed that word on the first try!!) when I see people sharing their vacation photos or book deal – when I can’t even seem to get control of the dust bunnies. A vacation with happy people seems so outside of what I am capable, that I just feel like giving up. The bar is so low for a win, that when I actually spell words like “inadequate” right the first time, I feel like I won the lottery. 

So no, this ain’t no highlight reel, but it is real.

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An Invitation to Dinner for Jimmy Fallon

February 1, 2018
Tater Tot Hot Dish

So apparently Jimmy Fallon is inviting himself to dine with some Minnesotans while he’s here for his live Tonight Show following the Super Bowl. He’s not from here so he wouldn’t know that we don’t just invite ourselves over to someone’s house for dinner. In fact, we have to be invited a minimum of three times before we can accept anything. 

However, this is a special occasion and all so it’s probably okay to overlook this faux pas. 

The daughter and I were watching the news last night when we heard about this. Her immediate response was “why would he want to come here for dinner?”.

Which is a typical Minnesotan thing to say.

With that in mind, I decided to send Jimmy Fallon an invitation to dinner at our house. Of course in Minnesota dinner takes place at noon and lasts until late evening – with half of that taking place at the door trying to say goodbye. 

I did not link to my recipe for tater tot hot dish in the email but am here for those of you who want to know what hot dish is all about. 

I’m a little worried the folks in California won’t understand Minnesota Nice. 

I do have a signature in my email, linking to this blog, and I’m hoping I don’t end up in junk mail. So if you wouldn’t mind tweeting this post to Jimmy, that would be greatly appreciated, unless you have something better to do of course.

Here’s his Twitter @jimmyfallon

An Invitation to Dinner for Jimmy Fallon

Hi Jimmy,

 

I heard you were looking to invite yourself to a Minnesotan’s house for dinner while you were here for the Super Bowl. I guess you do that sort of thing in California. My daughter doesn’t think you’d want to come to our house because we live way over in St. Paul and nobody in Minneapolis ever comes over here but I told her you put your pants on just like everyone else and why wouldn’t you want to come for dinner?

 

So yeah, we’d love to have you come for dinner. It’s a little short notice and all, but it’s no trouble.

 

You said you wanted to try out the local cuisine – whatever that is – but I can pull a Tater Tot Hot Dish out of the basement freezer for you. You said you don’t want a salad, and that’s fine. I’ll still have one for you if you want to try it. I made a lovely Lime Jello Salad, you’ll love it. I can make some bars too, I know I have a box of Betty Crocker somewhere.

 

I’ve been told I make a fair Tater Tot Hot Dish. It’s not as fancy as Margie’s down the street, but that’s because she uses both peas and beans in hers. That’s too much green for me. I prefer peas and corn. Margie also puts that paprika on top of hers, but she’s originally from Wisconsin so what do you expect?

 

Don’t tell Margie I said that about her hot dish, we still have to work together at the Booya this summer and it would be awkward if she knew how I really felt.

 

When would you like to come over? Anytime is good for us, but we got bingo down at the casino on Friday night so we’d have to wrap up supper at about 5:30. Will that work for you? Otherwise we could do dinner on Saturday or Sunday. That’s noon in case you don’t do dinners out in California.

 

Sunday would be nice, we could watch the game. I mean it’s not like the Vikes were gonna win if they got in anyway.

 

Will you be bringing your friend Justin? It’s no trouble if you do, I’ll just have to get my son Alex to come over and get a folding chair out from the garage. It’s really no trouble at all, just let me know.

 

Are you allergic to cats? If you are we’ll put the cats in a room. They don’t get along very well so if you know that cat whisperer maybe you could bring him along instead of your friend Justin? We could really use his help with these dang cats. You must know him right? He’s got all those things in his ears, so he must be from California.

 

Oh, my that was rude of me. You can bring both of them but let me know so I can have Alex get another chair from the garage. It’s really no bother.

 

Well I look forward to meeting you, even if it is on such short notice.

 

Jennifer Brown

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Big Mac Hot Dish with Noodles

January 27, 2018

Earlier I posted a recipe for Big Mac Hot Dish, but because I was concerned about my use of Tater Tots in the recipe I also a Big Mac Hot Dish with Noodles using elbow noodles instead of the tots. Initially I did not want to use noodles, it just seemed like a weird combination of flavors – pickles, cheese, tomatoes – to have with pasta. Still, I was concerned the tots might get soggy and I knew the pasta would come together better and probably look better on a plate. 

Turns out, both are super tasty and super easy. Here is the recipe for Big Mac Hot Dish with Noodles.

Big Mac Hot Dish with Noodles

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1 medium yellow onion – chopped

Half a box elbow noodles cooked al dente and drained

1/2 cup diced tomatoes – drained

1/2 cup diced pickles – drained

10 oz Velveeta – cubed for easy melting

1/2 cup milk or half and half

1/4 cup Thousand Island dressing

Putting it all together:

Cook the elbow noodles according to the package so they are al dente. 

After dicing the pickles press them between several layers of paper towel to remove as much liquid as possible.

While the pasta is cooking brown the ground beef with the chopped onion, cook thoroughly and drain. Turn the burner down to medium and add the tomatoes and pickles, mix well.

Slowly add the Velveeta and milk and stir while it melts. Add the Thousand Island dressing and mix well. If your mixture is too thick you can add more milk.

The pasta will absorb the liquid so you’ll want this to be a little less thick.

Fold in the pasta and place mixture in casserole dish and bake covered for 20 minutes at 350°F.

 

Serve and enjoy!

Dumb Shit I Do Food Minnesota Recipes Things I Really Like Winter

Big Mac Hot Dish

January 27, 2018
Big Mac Hot Dish, Big Mac Casserole

If you’re looking for comfort food, this Big Mac Hot Dish is just the thing on a cold winter day. Seriously, it’s really tasty and super easy to make. 

I grew up on Tang and Pop Tarts, going to McDonald’s was a rare thing in my family and quite a treat when it did happen. The only reason to go to McDonald’s back then was the Big Mac. This was before McRib, Chicken Tenders, McNuggets, etc.

Back then – mid 70s – you had the choice of a hamburger, cheese burger and the brand new two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun – Big Mac. It was divine. 

Now that I’m older, more responsible and more health conscious, when I do go to McDonald’s I order a chicken sandwich and don’t eat the bun. It’s not nearly as much fun so I don’t go often.

Today, I was craving a Big Mac. Mostly I wanted the pickle bite with the special sauce, and cheese. I didn’t want to go to the Golden Arches because I’m really trying to use what I have in my fridge – creatively – so I figured I’d try a Big Mac Hot Dish.

It turned out wonderfully if I do say so myself. Actually I was surprised at how good it is. I didn’t want to make a casserole with pasta. I really wanted to keep it as close to a Big Mac as I could. The problem with that is it would basically be a Big Mac in the blender, and I didn’t want that. So, instead of the pasta I used Tater Tots and OMG it’s awesome.

After I made this I Googled to see if this was a thing. Apparently it is but it uses lettuce and crescent roll dough, and sesame seeds. So, technically this is not really a Big Mac because I left those things out and added the potato, however, I think this is a superior hot dish because it’s like having fries with it – which is the only way to have a Big Mac. 

This is the most retro casserole or hot dish you could imagine. It oozes the 70s and it is super!

Big Mac Hot Dish

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1 medium yellow onion – chopped

1 cup Tater Tots (I used the smaller crispy ones)

1/2 cup diced tomatoes – drained

1/2 cup diced pickles – drained

8 oz Velveeta – cubed for easy melting

1/2 cup milk or half and half

1/4 cup Thousand Island dressing

Putting it all together:

Cook the Tater Tots according the package. I wanted them crisp because I was fearful they might make the dish soggy. 

While the tots are cooking brown the ground beef with the chopped onion until cooked thoroughly and drain. Turn the burner down to medium and add the tomatoes and pickles, mix well.

Big Mac Casserole

A note about the pickles, I drained them and then pressed them between paper towels to take out as much of the liquid as possible. 

diced pickles

Slowly add the Velveeta and milk and stir while it melts. Add the Thousand Island dressing and mix well. If your mixture is too thick you can add more milk, but you don’t want it runny, it’s okay if it’s a little on the thick side.

Big Mac Casserole Recipe

Fold in the tots and place mixture in casserole dish and bake covered for 20 minutes at 350°F. Remove the cover for the last 10 minutes or so if you want it to brown up any exposed tots. 

Big Mac Hot Dish Recipe

 

Serve and enjoy.

I didn’t think to put a garnish on the dish, but some shredded lettuce sprinkled on top would probably work really nicely and make it more Big Mac ish. You could even put a few sesame seeds on top of the lettuce. I thought about putting some hash browns on top in a very thin layer – mostly for the crunch and color, but that seemed like overkill with the tots so I skipped it. Cheese didn’t seem right either. A little bacon might be good too, it’s just not my thing. 

Because I was concerned the tots might get soggy I also made a variation with elbow noodles instead of the tots. I added more cheese to this variation so it was more of a Big Mac & Cheese Hot Dish instead. I’ll post that recipe next. 

If you have any ideas for garnish or sides please let me know in the comments. 

 

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This Is Us and that Damn Crock-Pot

January 26, 2018
This is Us and that Damn Crock-Pot

First of all — Spoilers!!! If you haven’t seen or heard about This is Us and that Damn Crock-Pot yet then just move on to another post. You might want to try my Reuben Balls Recipe, it’s pretty awesome and you don’t need a Crock-Pot to make. 

If you’re like most people and you’ve seen the most recent episode of This Is Us, then you’ve already thrown out your Crock-Pot and maybe even your Instant Pot. That’s what (mostly) women around the United States have been doing since it was revealed that it was a faulty Crock-Pot that started the fire that probably kills dad Jack, though we won’t know for sure until after the Super Bowl when it will finally be revealed – for sure this time.

I have to admit, when I saw the show last Tuesday night my first reaction was that sales of Crock-Pots were gonna tank. I even posted that thought on Facebook, and even got a little heat for revealing the ending. I don’t think I did, but people get pretty upset about such things so who knows. 

Anyway, I don’t think the folks at NBC put a lot of thought into the Crock-Pot plot twist. Clearly they did not anticipate that women all over the country would be afraid to use these time saving devices.

Crock-Pot has even had to make a statement ensuring that their devices are safe to use.

Of course, it is safe to use. The trick is to unplug the damn thing when you’re finished with it. 

Listen, I am the first person to blow this sort of thing way out of proportion. After my son was born I was sure the house was going to catch on fire or blow up. I wasn’t sure how but I made sure to check that the coffee maker was off and unplugged along with every other appliance in the kitchen and made regular trips to the basement to see if I could smell gas. I could, and even had the plumbing and heating folks come out to check it. Hey, I can’t help it if my nose is more sensitive than their gas detecting equipment. 

Thankfully my ex and I got a divorce and I could move out of that ticking time bomb that is still standing as beautifully as ever. Also, thankfully, I had my thyroid tested and got my medication adjusted so I am not nearly as obsessed with these things anymore.

Anyway, I get wanting to throw out the Crock-Pot, but here’s the thing… It’s fiction. It was also at least 17 years old. Who uses any kitchen appliance for 17 years? No one, they had their kitchen remodeled and yet they still used a used Crock-Pot that they knew had a faulty switch?

See, I don’t buy that. Rebecca, the mom, who is just as high strung as any mom I have met would have never allowed something like a broken Crock-Pot into her house with three infants. It just wouldn’t happen.

And what kind of neighbors give a mom-to-be a broken Crock-Pot? Horrible neighbors, that’s who.

Also, Rebecca just left it on in the kitchen and went to bed. Not only that, she left the mess from the Super Bowl party down there. Mom’s don’t do that unless they’ve been shooting some heroin or drank a box of wine. Moms, especially the moms like Rebecca, clean up the kitchen before going to bed. It’s scientifically impossible for her to go to bed with a mess downstairs.

And then Jack cleaned it up. I know there are men who do stuff like that, I just haven’t ever met one. Of course, they had to have Jack do the clean up so he could leave the Crock-Pot plugged in. Because – Rebecca wouldn’t have left the damn thing plugged in.

I have a love/hate relationship with this show, so many elements are just wrong. Or, maybe I just can’t relate to them, I don’t know. Even when the characters are horribly broken, life is still pretty good for them. I’ve started that posts numerous times, but frankly the show is so beloved, I don’t want to be shunned for not towing the line. So, I’ve kept my mouth shut. This might be the proverbial straw – not unlike the TWD episode where Glenn ended up under a dumpster for a few weeks.

I don’t know if I will watch the episode after the Super-Bowl. Not because I am worried about it being a gut punch or getting my heart broken. I’ve known since last season that Jack dies, it was just a matter of when and how. Frankly, I’d like them to just move on. 

Jack is fine, but he’s just a guy. And a dead guy at that.

Anyway, if you haven’t already, don’t throw out your Crock-Pots, they are perfectly safe. Just turn them off and unplug them when you aren’t in the house. 

Seriously, does anyone actually fire up the Crock-Pot and leave for work? There’s no way I’d ever do that, even before seeing This Is Us. 

 

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There’s a Mouse in my Car!!!!

January 24, 2018
There's a mouse in my car

There’s a mouse in my car!!! WTF!?!?!? I haven’t actually seen the mouse, but I can hear it and it’s terrifying. A few months ago I was driving my daughter to school because the bus never came. As we were getting on the practice freeway (35E for those of you who aren’t from the Twin Cities, but for those of you coming here for the Super Bowl, it’s a stretch of highway that nearly wasn’t built back in the early 70s because neighbors didn’t want the noise in their backyard. Because the freeway was closed for most of my childhood, we sled down what is now 35E. If finally opened once the state or whoever makes these decisions compromised with the neighborhood and reduced the speed to 45 mph and why it is called the Practice Freeway. 

Anyway, we were getting on the freeway, on the entrance ramp, when a mouse suddenly appeared on the windshield of the car. It was on the outside of the car, thankfully, but it still scared the crap out of me and my daughter. It quickly crawled back into where it came from when it noticed the trees and other outside things zipping by at speeds more than 45mph. 

While I did not want it to die I also did not want it in my car and hoped it would fall off or get blown off or would get the hell out of my car when we parked.

I haven’t seen or thought of that little guy since that day. 

Until this past Saturday. 

There’s a Mouse in my Car!!!!

I got in the car to go to the gym and heard some rustling in the glove compartment area. I hadn’t yet started the car so it wasn’t the radio or something in the air vent (like a piece of paper that got sucked into it – it’s happened). 

It’s a critter. There is no rhyme or reason to the rustling so I don’t think it’s the car making the noise. It’s something alive.

I have not actually seen the mouse, but because I can hear it I am sure it is going to appear at any moment – like the one that appeared on my windshield – and scare the bejeebus out of me. Because I can hear the rustling in the glove compartment area I am sure the critter is inside the car this time.

I like driving. In fact, I love it. Driving is the only time I get to be truly alone and can rock out or think depending on my mood. Driving is my me time and something I look forward to. 

Until now. Now it sucks. Now all I think about is how this little animal is going to cause my death and probably a bunch of other people’s deaths too. I imagine it will crawl up my pant leg causing me to freak the fuck out and drive into oncoming traffic. If it can’t get up my pant leg, because now I’m tucking my jeans into my boots, it will crawl up the back of my seat and into my hair. I imagine it will grab onto my cheek for some reason and stay there until I can swat it away. Of course, I won’t be able to until it has scratched out my eye. 

Now when I drive all I do is think about the ways this tiny little animal is going to kill me. What used to be a relaxing and enjoyable activity has now become an anxiety-filled excursion.

Even worse, I can’t tell my daughter. The damn thing is somewhere near her seat so if I tell her she will never get back in the car again. So far she has not heard the rustling and I’m really hoping the damn thing will leave before she figures it out. 

I know this mouse is a metaphor for my life. It’s this small thing that I have blown way out of proportion and yet I don’t know how to reign it back in. How does one get a small rodent out of their vehicle? I’ve considered vacuuming it but I’d have to locate it first and I don’t want to feel around the dark parts of my car so I can get bit or scratched. 

I really don’t want to have rabies shots in my stomach for weeks on end.

(Is that a real thing or like the bubble gum myth of childhood?)

I’ve thought about putting the cat in the car and letting her do her thing but I still have to drive and I don’t know how long it will take for her do the job. I don’t even know if she is a mouser. Dini was the mouser in the family and she passed away last summer.

Also, what is the mouse living on? There’s been a broken Cheez-it on the floor for months now, I would think it has to eat and what would be better than a floor Cheez-it? Can it come and go for water? There are several half empty bottles of water in the car but none show any signs of being unscrewed. If he is getting the water out of the bottle he’s screwing the cap back on. 

Can I put D-Con in the car? That seems like a bad idea, though I am not sure why. Should I just get a new car? 

What the hell should I do? How do I get this thing out of my car?!?!?!?

 

 

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I Made This – Pizza and Wine!

January 16, 2018

I can’t believe I made this – pizza and wine! And by ‘made this’, I mean I made everything in this image by myself and from scratch.

I made the wine and I made the pizza.

I made the dough – I let it rise, punched it down and shaped it into pizza crust.  I made the sauce, from tomatoes I canned last summer and I chopped the veggies and cooked the sausage. I put it all together and cooked it in my oven. 

I made the wine. I fermented the grape juice (I did not grow, crush or stomp on the grapes, but I did research their origin for the style and taste I was looking for). I cleared and stabilized the wine and I bottled it all by myself. 

FYI, my wine has a fraction of the sulfites and no added sugars or preservatives than store-bought wine – so it’s much healthier.

It took about 4 months for the wine (most of that is aging), and 2 hours for the pizza (most of that is waiting for the dough to rise). 

So why did I do this?

Good question. I did this because I — wondered what would happen if — I made a meal completely from scratch (ok, maybe not 100% completely, but close), and I was tired of frozen pizza, take out and eating stuff filled with preservatives and all the other stuff.

Plus, since I have been making wine – which is all about the yeast – I thought why not make some pizza. I used to have a fear of making anything with yeast, but since I’ve been making my own wine, beer, cider, root beer and even kombucha, I figured it was a silly fear.

In fact, it turns out I have many fears about cooking. 

Each fall I can many of the veggies from my garden. Usually tomatoes, beans, carrots etc. I follow the directions for canning and I store everything in a cool, dark basement, and yet when I open a jar of pickles, tomato sauce or dilly beans I wonder if I’ll get botulism. 

I suspect I am not the only one with this fear.

I Made This – Pizza and Wine!

Pizza crust:

4 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 package yeast

2 tablespoons olive oil

1.5 cups water at 110°

Mix dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer is easiest but a hand mixer will work. You can also use a food processor, but I don’t have one and don’t really know what settings to use. I suspect there are some directions that come with it.

Slowly add the water and oil to the dry mixture and mix until it is all incorporated. Remove from the mixing bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl and cover. Place in a warm area and rise until doubled, about an hour. 

After dough has risen cut into quarters and let rest for at least 10 minutes. 

Shape on cookie sheet or pizza stone and add your toppings.

I Made This Pizza and Wine

Pizza Sauce:

I used my own canned tomato sauce with garlic, basil, oregano and onions, but you can use tomato paste, water and add herbs to taste. Canned tomato sauce will also work. I threw in an extra can of diced tomatoes because I didn’t have any crushed tomatoes. I added about 2 tablespoons of sugar to the tomato sauce to cut the acid taste and then I boiled it down to thicken it up.

Toppings:

Thinly sliced green pepper, sliced black olives, sliced mushrooms, sliced red onions, mozzarella cheese. 

Cook in a 425° oven for 10-12 minutes. 

Enjoy!

So I made this pizza and wine, because it turns out the stuff I make is much better than the same stuff from a box or the freezer.

What have you made?

 

 

Blogging Contests Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota

Vikings Playoff Giveaway

January 13, 2018
Vikings Playoff Giveaway

*Update – Since no one even guessed, and there is no way anyone could have guessed the outcome of the Saints vs Vikings game, we’re gonna do it again….

Just for shits and giggles I’m doing a Vikings Playoff Giveaway. If you can predict, guess or speculate the score of next Sunday’s game against the Eagles, you will win some cool Vikings memorabilia.

I’m not trying to jinx it, I won’t speculate on who I think will win, though historically this is where the Vikings start to fold, but I am hopeful. What would be more awesome than the Vikes in the Super Bowl in their own stadium? Although, I understand they would not be the home team if this happens. Anyway, it’s too exciting not to do something in honor of the great season both teams have had (but especially the Vikes!!).

I’m gonna have two winners, whoever gets closest to the score has their choice of either this cool as shit beer glass or this retro Purple People Eater t-shirt. The glass is offical NFL Merchandise, but I peeled the sticker off. If that’s a problem let me know and I’ll get one with the stick on it. The t-shirt is upcycled from Ragstock so not official NFL, but still cool as shit (not sure why it looks blue in one photo and purple in the other. It is purple).

Vikings playoff giveaway

Vikings Playoff Giveaway

Here’s what you gotta do to win:

Follow me on Facebook

Follow the official Redhead Ranting page on Facebook

Sign up for my newsletter (don’t worry, I haven’t actually sent out a newsletter in years and If I do you can unsubscribe, though I think there’s an auto response when you sign up. I’m not really sure anymore….). You can fill out the form on the right sidebar over there –> –>

You can, but don’t have to, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest (I’m not particulary active on any of those platforms but need to up my numbers so it’d be doing me a solid but that seems like a lot of work for a t-shirt or a beer glass). 

Leave your prediction for the game in the comment section. The two closest guess will win and whoever is closer to the final score gets their choice of prize. 

Good luck to all, and especially good luck to the Minnesota Vikings!

Skol!

 

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Blogging Dumb Shit I Do Ex Husbands Ex#1 Ex#2 Minnesota Nice People Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off Winter

When the Bough Breaks

January 11, 2018
when the bough breaks

Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop

Who the hell puts their baby, along with the cradle, in a fucking tree?

They don’t. It’s a metaphor. For mother (or father, primary caregiver – just so I don’t offend anyone reading this who isn’t a mother, but who is the primary caregiver – hey, we’re all, metaphorically, in this together, right?).

Did you see what I just did there?  I just fucking apologized to someone who might or might not be offended that I assumed the nursery rhyme was about mom and not dad. 

That’s how overwhelmed I am.

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock

I am breaking. 

I am a single mom, I am always in a state of overwhelm, but lately I have not been able to get any respite.

Between trying to chase down an IEP for my daughter who was recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and Anxiety; fighting my ex husband in court, via text message and through his porn-star named attorney (I am sure she is nice and probably a decent attorney, but she really should consider changing her name); and work full time… I just don’t have any energy left.

My house is a shambles. I have laundry in the washing machine (not the dryer, but the washing machine) from before Christmas, and there’s some weird shit growing in my fridge. 

I cannot keep all the balls in the air right now.

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall

I know I am not the only single mom who doesn’t have any support. In fact, it is so common we should form a club and make t-shirts. The problem is, we’re all too overwhelmed to meet up.

I suspect that’s a big part of what is wrong with society right now. Aside from the explosion in single people raising little people, we’re also really disconnected. Sure, we communicate with one another on social media, but that’s usually just so we can flaunt our moral superiority. It rarely is about lifting anyone up or offering sincere support – though I am sure it happens, it doesn’t happen enough. 

We’re disconnected from family. At least I am. There was a wedding in my extended family not too long ago. I’d been hearing about the preparation for the last year so I knew it was coming up and expected to be invited. I was not. I was informed “we really didn’t think you’d want to go.” How considerate. No, I’d never want to connect with family I haven’t seen in a few years. I really enjoy not going out and seeing people. I much prefer to stay home. Of course, god knows I have plenty to do at home (see above) so maybe it really was a blessing that I wasn’t invited. I’m not even sure I would have wanted, but I am sure I would have liked to be invited. 

And down will come baby, cradle and all

I’ll get over this, I will get my footing back and I will get my shit together. I will get the IEP, I will get the school to accomodate my daughter and I will manage the next four years of dealing with the ex somehow. I do. I always do. And, I’ll do it alone.

Actually, I am not alone, I do have support, it just comes from the oddest and most unexpected places. My first ex husband’s wife has been wonderful. She always has been. I recently connected with a high school classmate, through Facebook, and he helped fix my leaky drain. He was most gracious, happy to help. It was not like it was some horrible chore to him (like it was when I used to ask my brother for help) and that was wonderfully refreshing and fucking weird at the same time. 

There is no point to this, I just needed to vent. So, thanks for listening.

Dumb Shit I Do Food Minnesota Recipes Things I Really Like Winter

Instant Pot Ham and Wild Rice Soup

January 3, 2018
Instant Pot Ham and Wild Rice Soup

Happy New Year! This year I’m starting off with an Instant Pot ham a wild rice soup recipe. I make all kinds of soups during the holidays. Usually because there are so many leftovers from the holiday meals, but also because it’s so damn cold. Currently it’s about -14°. That’s Minnesota, and that’s why we make things like Tater Tot Hot Dish. It’s also probably why we drink.

Anyway, Ham and Wild Rice Soup is a staple around the holidays. As any good Minnesotan knows, the best ham and wild rice soup comes from Byerly’s and this recipe relies heavily on their recipe which you can find here. I love this soup so hard, but it’s got a lot more salt than I can tolerate so I have made some adjustments to the original. I use a ton more onion, no chicken brother (because I didn’t look at the recipe when I made it, and didn’t have any), and possibly more sherry than it calls for. It’s a forgiving recipe that can easily be tailored to your tastes. 

Here is my altered version of this recipe with instructions for the Instant Pot:

Instant Pot Ham and Wild Rice Soup

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 chopped carrots

1/2 cup diced celery

3 cups wild rice prepared (I used leftover wild rice from Christmas dinner, it had water chestnuts and mushrooms in it which I think added some lovely flavor and texture)

2 cups chopped ham

A couple of handfuls of slivered almonds

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup (ish) dry sherry

Water

Putting it all together:

Make a mirepoix with the onions, celery and carrots using the sauté setting on the Instant Pot. Don’t let them brown, you just want to bring out the flavor of each ingredient. 

mirepoix

Add the ham, wild rice and enough water to cover the ingredients. 

instantpot ham wild rice soup recipe

Set the Instant Pot on manual high pressure for 5 minutes and let cook.

Do a quick pressure release and when safe to open add your almonds, flour, half and half and sherry. I simply mixed the flour with the half and half but you could mix it with the sherry too or mix all of them together. You may need to add additional water or if you prefer chicken broth.

Cook using the sauté setting until the soup has thickened to your liking. 

Ham and wild rice soup

That’s it! Serve with the leftover rolls and you’ve got a scrumptious meal for these fridgid days.

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