Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bloody Mary Salad, My Salad Soulmate, and Memorial Day Weekend

So yesterday I went on a rant about how I had discovered my salad soulmate and as promised, here you are.  This, my friends, is a new high in lows.  Bloody. Mary. Salad.

What you need for about 4 side servings:

4 tomatoes, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/4 cup of red onion, chopped
2 tablespoonsWorcestershire sauce*  ((damn is that hard to spell))
2 tablespoons vodka ((yep))
1 tsp celery salt
fresh cracked pepper
squeeze of lime

Drink your salad:

Throw everything in a bowl, mix it around, cover and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.  Now, if there are going to be kids around, it would behoove me to tell you to leave out the vodka ((I know, it's just a little)), but you do as you please.

There are several recipes posted for this ((once I heard of it and started googling,)) but this is based on the way I make a bloody mary.  There are tons of things you could add based on typical garnishes for the drink:  pickled peppers, cocktail onions, pickled asparagus, BACON, pepperoni, etc etc etc.

*I used way more Worcestershire because I love it almost as much as Patrick Swayze.  Almost.


It's Memorial Day weekend.  Be a peach and in between enjoying your long weekend and relaxing, take a moment to remember why we have this weekend, wouldya?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mohawks, Tip #37 on How to Be a Grown-Up, and Right-Brainedness

I had planned to share a very unique salad recipe today that I came across and literally yelled, "BRILLIANT!" followed by a string of "Oh my God, what didn't I think of that?!"  and "They should call that the Jules Salad!"  ((I do realize that if my house is wired by someone conducting surveillance on me, they have decided I am certifiable after all the nonsense I spew and the long discussions I have with my pets in which I may or may not conduct one-sided conversations as if I hear them replying.  That also explains why Foster Kitty, who is, well, my foster kitty, currently has a mohawk.  He lost a bet.  Yes, I know I'm weird.  But you now what?  I am never, ever bored.  So there.))

The salad sharing is unfortunately not going to happen due to a major technical difficulty... That being the complete and utter meltdown of my car's electronic system.  That sounds bad enough right?  Add in that it is a hybrid and you have a total disaster on your hands.  I was innocently driving down the freeway at about 70 mph when all of a sudden the dashboard lit up like the Vegas Strip.  It was still running fine, so I tried to brush it off as a fluke.  When I left to head back out, the lights were off and I congratulated the car on its self-healing ability.  Ten minutes later, the display lights back up, alarms were going off, the power steering went out, the ABS braking thing went haywire, and the a/c melted down.  Oh and it kept shifting itself into neutral and couldn't be brought out.  The display had a Mr. Yuck face where the computer usually is.  I will go ahead and add that this happened during the noon rush in the middle of ((arguably)) one of the busiest intersections in Phoenix.   I'll take 5 mgs of Xanax for $200, Alec.

I called the dealership and the service guy says, "That sounds bad.  Real bad."  He then insisted I not drive the car the mere four blocks to the dealership, but you can guess how that turned out.  At this point, I am, of course, envisioning a repair bill with four digits and praying the first of those digits is 1.  Well, it turns out that when Toyota sends you mail that says "Recall" that you should probably open it.  We shall call that tip #37 on how to be a grown-up.  Luckily, I lived, the repairs were all covered by the recall, and I got a rental car for free that had four miles on it.  Accordingly, I drove it all over town and through a dust storm to celebrate.

ANYWAY, long rant about stupid car problems aside, I'm hoping for a low-key weekend with some new recipes for you.  I've been on a creative tear lately: doing some web design, cooking, writing, writing, writing, working on packaging designs...  I'll be back tomorrow with what we are now going to call The Jules Salad.


PS.  I got a comment on yesterday's post that someone had tried to check out the blog from their work computer and it was flagged as "inappropriate content."  I find that to be so completely hilarious that I shall have a Zima to celebrate.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Banana Soft Serve Ice Cream, Technical Issues, and Drinking the Kool-Aid

I've been worshipping at the house of Marie Forleo lately.  Big time.  If you don't know who she is, and I didn't until very recently, she is an entrepreneur who now specializes in teaching people, women in particular, about how to grow their online businesses, even if you don't have a clue about anything, but you have a great idea that you really believe in.  ((That is a terrible summary, but if you are a woman looking to grow your business, go drink her Kool-Aid.  Chug it.  It's delicious.))  One of the things she said in one of the initial presentations has really stuck with me:  Everything is figure-out-able.  Holy shit, truer words.

I've spent the last two days figuring it out.  Figuring what out?  Everything.  When I started this blog, it seemed like a gigantic undertaking.  I didn't know how to set one up, how to add pictures, how to get a name, how to get anyone to actually see it, nothing.  Yet, in the past couple of days, I have been working on my website, adding features to it, getting the Twitter feed added to both it and this blog, and building an entirely new site from scratch.  I do NOT know how to write code.  Shit, I don't even really know what that means.  Yet, somehow, I've done it.  Oh and Google is amazing.  You can type the stupidest question ever in and there is someone as dumb as you are who necessitated step-by-step instructions with pictures being written.  Brilliant!  ((By the way, go check out the new site.  It is still a work in progress, so don't judge me too harshly!))


Speaking of figuring things out, you should really make this:  Fake soft serve ice cream that I swear on Beyonce's vocal cords does not taste like fake soft serve.  I originally saw this idea on Pinterest somewhere, but didn't pin it.  After reading about it, I started trying to re-create it many, many times to a series of glorious fails.

Photo via Pinterest

What you need:

Frozen over-ripe bananas ((3-4))
1 cup of some kind of berry ((blue berries, strawberries, blackberries))
A food processor ((mandatory))

What to do:

Put the frozen bananas and berries in a food processor and start pulsing it.  Don't rush this because it changes consistency FAST.  As it pulses, you will see if break up into little dots... that's your signal that it is almost done.  A few more pulses and seriously, you will get what is pictured above.  It is smooth and creamy like real ice cream.  It doesn't have a strong banana taste at all.  In fact, you will be hard pressed to detect the banana taste at all.

Now let me tell you what doesn't work:  letting the bananas soften up out of the freezer, using a blender ((not sure why)), adding milk, adding ice, adding Splenda or some other sweetener.  There were a bunch of us on Facebook that were trying to accomplish the result pictured above and it really is best to keep it simple.

This is the PERFECT summer treat for people who can't do dairy or who are looking to cut a few calories.  This is approximately 200 calories for a single serving ((the proportions given above)) and no  fat.  Smart, right?  Right.


Okay, back to doing some more editing!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Turkey with Black Bean and Salsa Skillet, Blogaholism, and What was the Point?

As you may have gathered, I read a LOT of blogs of basically every variety: food/cooking/baking, fitness, personal, parenting, dating/relationship, fashion, lifestyle, humor, and you name it.  I think my Google Reader subscription list is still over 300 and I have pared it down a lot.  But what I love about reading blogs is the inside look into people's lives.  Now granted, people are not who they appear to be on their site by and large.  The author gives you their own spin on events which out of necessity, must be filtered somewhat.  Some things are exaggerated for effect, some things are outright bullshit, omissions are made, etc etc.  Still I find it fascinating to see how other people's lives unfold and the way in which they choose to present it.  And what is really fascinating is how invested the readers become in their lives as well.

Hmmm.  I wonder what my point was.  I probably didn't actually have one.  I think my point is this...  In this space, I really only talk about my cooking endeavors.  There are some things that I just can't or won't talk about.  However, I have a LOT of other projects going on and as time goes on, I'll be talking more about those as well.  In the past couple of weeks, shit has really taken off.  Based on a conversation today, it is about to get really fracking awesome.  Once we have it up and running, I will fill y'all in.  Promise.


Let's EAT.  As I mentioned previously, I get a lot of requests from people for ideas for quick, easy dinners.  I came up with this after vacantly staring in the fridge and frankly, enjoying the cool breeze from it ((it was 108 here today)).  A turkey with black bean and salsa skillet.

What you need for two servings:

1/2 pound ground turkey
1 cup of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup ((or more)) of a salsa of your choice
1/4 cup of shredded Mexican cheese
2 tablespoons of sour cream

Make it:

Start by browning the ground turkey in a skillet.  Crumble it up using a spatula or a fork into small pieces.  Once all the pink is out, add the salsa and the black beans.  Stir and heat through.

Heat your tortillas by placing them between two paper towels and microwaving for 30 seconds.  Pile on the turkey/bean/salsa and then top with shredded cheese, sour cream, a squeeze of lime, and some cilantro.

There are lots of other things you could add if you have time...  Chopped onions, avocado, sweet corn ((I used a corn salsa)), or whatever you want!

This came together in less than ten minutes which is exactly what I'm talking about when it is hot and you haven't had anything but seven diet cokes all day.  

Nutritional Info for one serving:  Approximately 230 calories ((using reduced-fat cheese, fat-free sour cream, and small tortillas)) and 4 grams of fat.

This didn't photograph very well... the light was weird and blah blah blah ... but it was really good and filling.  Luckily, I have a photography student who has asked if she can work with me to build her portfolio!  I just need to come up with something colorful to make and find a time that works with our schedules.  I'm super-excited about it.  As I've said before, I'm no photographer.  I actually don't own a real camera and only take these pictures with my phone.  So when you see super pretty pictures, you will know that is her work!


I need to crank out some more writing tonight and figure out why my dog won't stop growling at the wall.  Be back tomorrow!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blackberry Cobbler, Blackberry Sauce, and Deep Seated Dreams

Tell me just how sick this is:  I had a dream about blackberry cobbler.  A very vivid, very detailed dream about eating cobbler.  No, this isn't some messed up, deeply seated... ((Is it "seated" or "seeded?"  Hold on.  Googling.  Don't you love stream of consciousness writing?  Me too. Oh hell, apparently there is a raging linguistic debate on this topic.  In the sense I am using it, deep seated is correct, however, it is pronounced as "seeded."  Well, well, well.  Huh.))  As I was saying, this isn't some messed up, deeply SEATED metaphor for sex, creative angst, or unresolved issues with my father, it was just that:  Cobbler.  With blackberries.  And real whipped cream.  With blackberry sauce.   I need a Food Network intervention.  

This is so ridiculously easy, even a seven-year-old can do it.  In fact, it is so basic I have it memorized which is probably a bad thing because one day I'm dreaming of cobbler, the next day I'm making it in my sleep.  Recipe from the Pioneer Woman with a couple of twists.

What you need:

1 cup of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of milk
1 stick of melted butter
2 cups of blackberries
**An additional 1/4 cup of sugar for the topping ((optional))

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Butter an eight inch square baking dish well.

Mix everything BUT the blackberries together.  Pour the batter into the baking dish.  Drop the blackberries in, attempting to spread them out so they are evenly distributed.  ((If you have just washed them, you don't need to dry them, just shake as much water off as you can.))  Top by sprinkling with an additional 1/4 cup of sugar if you want to.  I actually used a little less.

Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  


Want to make it really pretty?  Add a blackberry sauce drizzled over it or make one of those swirly plate decoration things for it.   This recipe is from  

What you need:

2/3 c. butter, melted
1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/4 c. sugar
Dash of salt
1/4 c. orange juice
2 c. fresh or frozen blackberries

What to do:

Start by melting the butter in a saute pan.  Add in the cornstarch and whisk them together.  Add all the remaining ingredients and cook over low heat, stirring constantly ((yes, this part sucks)), until it is thickened.  This will take at least ten minutes, maybe a little longer.  

Once thickened, run the sauce through a very fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and the stems.  ((I didn't do this the first time I made it and I liked it fine.  I thought the seeds made it look cool.))  

Store in a tupperware container in the refrigerator.  This will make about 2 cups so you will have plenty left over for pancakes, French toast, ice cream, or random spoonfuls.  ((Once refrigerated, it gets kind of solid.  Just micro it for a few seconds to get the consistency back.))

Definitely top with real whipped cream and serve warm.


All right,  I have a bunch of things to accomplish this afternoon.  The fact that it is going to be 110 degrees is NOT helping.  GAH.  More cobbler, please.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sloppy Turkey Joe's the Easy Way and Sloppy Turkey Joe's the Slightly Less Easy Way

This morning I was in the midst of a laundry-o-rama when the phone rang.  Before I knew it, it was 90 minutes later, my ear was numb, and I was STARVING.  I had been planning to make Sloppy Joe's ((or Barbecues)) with turkey burger, but I was suddenly in that "eff that, it takes too much time" frame of mind.  So I came up with an on-the-fly short cut which would be perfect for those of you who struggle with weeknight dinners.  It took less than 15 minutes.  My normal Sloppy Joe or barbecue sauce recipe will come after...

Turkey Joe's, sweet corn, and pineapple
What you need to serve 4:

1 lb of ground turkey
1/2 cup of Trader Joe's Barbecue Sauce*
*Some* minced onion and minced garlic

What you do:

Brown the ground turkey in a large pan.  Once browned, throw in the barbecue sauce and the spices.  Stir to combine, reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for a few minutes.  Serve on a toasted, buttered bun with pickle slices or whatever you like.  ((I'm using sandwich thins because I bought a pack and I swear to John Lithgow they are reproducing in my refrigerator.))

*You can use any brand of barbecue sauce you like, obviously.  TJ's has a nice smoky, sweetness to it though.  I also like the Jack Daniels' brand of sauces though.

I know this is nothing earth-shattering, but it wasn't an idea that had occurred to me before and I don't think I've ever heard it suggested somewhere.  I suspect I will make this a lot.  Served along side some sweet corn and fresh pineapple, it feels like summer, no?

Nutritional Info for just the meat:  1/4 pound serving is approximately 180 calories and 2 grams of fat if you use the super lean variety.  SCORE.

Now here is how someone who isn't about to eat their own arm off might make the sauce...


1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 pinch celery salt
1 pinch mustard powder

Basically all you do is throw that all in a sauce pan, stir to combine, and let it simmer on low for about 5 minutes.  You can then add it to your browned turkey or beef.  

Unfortunately, this is another one of the recipes that has been in my email folder for a few years and I am clueless as to where it came from.  The calorie count would be about the same though.


I'm off to do some boning up on my new writing gig!