06 March 2012

Cranberry Jalapeno Meatballs

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Cranberry Barbecue Jalapeno Meatballs

A few days ago, I brought these meatballs to a friend's Bridal Shower.  As always, I come up with a fabulous idea, an amazing idea, and then whenever making it for others, it falls short.  But they are still pretty darn good.  I was inspired by some jalapeno poppers with cranberry sauce that we had at Tommyknocker's Brewery.  I tried to put balls of cheese in the middle of these meatballs, hoping the cheese would ooze out when you bite into it.  Instead they oozed out as they baked.  So I had to mix the cheese into the meat, taking out the wow factor.  Oh well.

Back to the shower.  Like all showers, this one was full of excitement, well-wishes and some unexpected twists.  One game we played was the Newlywed Game.  It reminded me of my own bridal shower from last year.   The Newlywed Game involves the bridesmaids emailing the groom and having him answer certain questions.  Then at the shower, the bride has to try and guess what her future husband said.  Well, I asked, and my friend still had the email she sent.  Here are some of my husband's best responses.


Question: Describe your first date.
Gas Monkey's Answer: We went to Olive Garden across the street from Lowes and......it was definitely an interesting date.  Things have changed quite a bit!  I brought up some interesting topics that she didn't agree with my perspective on......I am sure she will be excited to share.

Q:Where was your first kiss?
G.M's A: hmmmmm.....I will say inspiration point....was at least the first should I say it....inspirational kiss..
(Wrong answer, but still a good one)

Jalapeno Meatballs
1. Mix milk, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, salt, onion powder, sage, dried parsley, garlic, milk, cheese, and jalapenos in a bowl.  Don't be a afraid to get your hands dirty!

Q: What is the favorite meal that Merut has made for you?
G.M.'s A:I like the ribs....but I also liked many of the other meals....such as tequila lime chicken and tempura chicken. (Really?!  The tempura chicken?  Ick.)

Q:How old is your oldest pair of underwear?
G.M.'s A: probably about the same as some of Merut's.....10+ years. (I'm sure I have no idea what he is talking about . . . )

19 December 2011

Kitchen Disaster #4: Fallen Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake

Some people lovingly call their angel food cake, "Fallen Angel Food Cake," as if to give the idea that this lovely piece of cake came down from heaven.  In my case, angel food cake plopped out of the pan like a piece of hell.

First of all, I'll just say I set myself up for failure.  Today is Gas Monkey's birthday, and I wanted to make him his favorite cake.  Could he be like a normal person and love a plain ol' chocolate or vanilla cake?  Of course not!  Here is how I've set myself up for failure.

  1. I cannot bake to save my life.  Meaning about 75% of my baked concoctions generally taste like crap and look even worse.
  2. It is Gas Monkey's birthday.  Of course I'm not going to get it right!
  3. Angel food cake is his favorite cake because his beloved grandma used to make it beautifully.  Lesson to wives out there: never try to imitate your husbands favorite dishes if he loves them because a. mom made them or b. grandma made them.  You will fail!
  4. Have you ever tried to make angel food cake?  It sucks and is hard.  
So be it.  I have attempted to make my dense, sticky cake look better by putting it in a lovely cake platter.  So, what do you think me chances are?  Will he be fooled?  I'll just play the newlywed card.  After all, anything a new wife pulls out of the oven is supposed to be burnt and taste like a seasoned turd right?

06 September 2011

Back to the Basics: Fall & One Pot Stacked Enchiladas

One Pot Stacked Enchiladas

I guess that the first day of fall doesn’t start until the September equinox. Who makes these rules? Well lately the lovely Colorado weather has felt different, and to me, different means fall. Fall always was my favorite season. Maybe because my birthday is in November and the changing season meant fabulous presents on the horizon. Lately I’ve been in a rut (when have I never been in one), and this crisp weather has reminded of me of things I used to enjoy doing in the fall. So I thought I’d make a list, premature though it might be.

Halloween – going door to door finding the best houses for candy while dressing up like someone else always appealed to me. I can’t imagine anything more fun.

Going to the giant corn maze

Holding on to someone in haunted houses

Carving pumpkins – I can’t say going to the pumpkin patch, because I don’t think I’ve ever done that

Playing outside, maybe in the leaves

Cuddling up against the heater with a good book, blanket, and a nice cat

Thanksgiving – always more about family than food

This whole adult life is really getting to me. I used to play, pretend. Now I feel so boring, just going through time without imagination. What do you do in the fall? I need inspiration.

Campin' Enchiladas

One Pot Enchiladas

1 can enchilada sauce
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 bag of pre-grated cheese (cheddar or Mexican)
1 small can pre-sliced olives
5-8 corn tortillas
  1. In a pot, stack the food. Enchilada sauce, then tortilla, then beans, then cheese, then black olives. Repeat until you have many layers.
  2. Cook over medium heat until cooked all the way through.
Roughing It

20 August 2011

Everyday Should Be Mothers Day: Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

Dear Mom

I may have 3-4 second “mothers” in my life, but you will always be my number one.  Sometimes you drive me absolutely crazy.  Sometimes your logic defies all logic.  Your constant campaigning against crosses and memorials on the side of the road (claiming they are trash and therefore driving hazards) makes me exasperated.  The way it takes you two hours to get ready for a road trip.   There is never a reason to doll yourself up for a gas station bathroom.  How you rug-doctor your carpets every time family comes to visit.  None of these things make sense.  But I love you nonetheless.

Growing up I was confused by you.  How could you never (and I mean never) see things my way?  I now realize it’s because the world according to you is very different than the world according to me.  Now instead of fighting against your universe, I’ve come to hold a certain affection for it.  I love that you are so detail-oriented and can see every possible issue with every split decision I’m about to make.  I love that you are not self-conscious and let loose to have fun.  I love how you would do anything for you kids, even if it means driving all the way to Fort Collins during rush hour traffic to give my brother food.  And I love that while I’ll always lose to everyone else, I can always beat you at cards.  Occasionally I think you are a whack job, but that’s ok.  I know you think the same thing about me.  How could we not be besties?  After all, you raised me to be just like you - stubborn.

I love you mom.  Hopefully you enjoyed these cupcakes that I made you last mother’s day.  Thanks for all your help for the wedding.

Mother's Day Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes - Recipe found at Pass the Sushi

3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease the muffin pan or add the cute little cupcake cups.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl (excluding the flour).  So flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a different bowl, mix the butter and sugar together - preferably with a mixer.  Gradually add the vanilla.  Mix until batter is "light and airy."
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the butter-sugar-vanilla mixture.  Mix until smooth.
  5. You're now ready to pour.  Pour batter into muffin pan until each "cupcake" is 2/3rds full.
  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Test with a toothpick.  Allow to cool.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese
6-8 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
4 Tbsps raspberry jam

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Mix until smooth.  Add more powdered sugar or buttermilk until you get the right consistency.
  2. Color with food coloring if you want and the decorate your cooled cupcakes with your own personal style.  Enjoy!
Note: If you want to top with raspberries be careful.  Some of the juices may leak onto the frosting, which doesn't do anything except stain your beautiful design.  Also - if topping with fresh raspberries, make sure the cupcakes will all be consumed within a matter of days.

12 August 2011

Lessons Learned from One Week of Wedded Bliss

People continually ask me, "So . . . how's married life?"  I am sure they are not looking for responses like, "Well . . . the sex is better."  I mean, really?  Gas Monkey and I have lived together for over four years.  How different could it be?  How wrong I was.  So here are some valuable lessons I have already learned since becoming Mrs. Gas Monkey. 

Lesson #1 - Always remind your husband to spray mosquito repellent on his bald spot.

Damn Mosquito!
Gas Monkey inspecting his "catch" after slapping a mosquito on his forehead.

Lesson #2 - Remember that while you may be bewildered by your husband's casting skills, you return the favor by setting up and taking down camp like a seasoned pro while he stands around looking like a lost puppy.


Lesson #3 - Fishing is all fun and games until the husband catches a trout with the fly you used unsuccessfully for an hour.  And then the jerk-wad will have the balls to tell you to get the camera so you can take a picture of him smiling with it.

With His Fish
The jerk-wad smiling with his catch.  Rub it in why don't ya.

Lesson #4 - It's not the size of the stove that matters.  Take pride in the fact that you don't carry around a full-sized grill on the back of an enormous camper and still call it "camping."

Roughing It

Lesson #5 - When your spouse lovingly sorts the laundry into piles on the floor, make sure to get those clothes washed and hung before a cat spitefully pees on your new favorite dress . . .

Lesson #6 - Pick your battles.  If your husband only wants to eat 1/2 of a chocolate chip cookie (and never the other half),  eat the remaining halves yourself before they pile up.

Seriously Gas Monkey?  Why?  I never knew you were a snooty cookie monster!

Lesson #7 - Remember this catchy tune, "Tony, Tony look around.  Something's lost and can't be found."  This may sometimes help you find missing things like your driver's license, sapphire ring, and the missing wall-hanging. Although it may not work when trying to find your husbands keys, which hold the only copies of the house key, truck keys, and his work keys.

Lesson #8 - When making pasta in the woods and you accidentally spill the pasta everywhere while attempting to drain it by holding the lid slightly cracked over the pot - try, try again.  (But only after you remember to take a picture of your failure).

Failed Pasta Attempt #1

Lesson #9 - After a second, infuriating attempt to drain pasta backfires, remember that the method you tried the first time should not have been applied a second time.  Ignore the husband's laughter at your misery and remember to take a picture.  Then sit down, pout, and drink a beer.

Failed Pasta Attempt #2

Lesson #10 - While fuming over two failed batches of pasta, allow your husband to pamper you with crap-tacular turkey sandwiches.  It's better than nothing.

Sweet Husband

I think we are right on track to having a normal married life, don't you?
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