casserole · Cheese · comfort food · dinner · easy · Hot dish · lunch · potatoes · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Tater Tot Hot Dish and Stolen Laundry

Last week I was trying to do 12 things at once, which included laundry. I have lived in my apartment building for 7 years (!) and have always left my laundry in the dryer (and sometimes washer when I’m forgetful) longer than is appropriate. But! I am also of the belief that if someone’s clothes are in the way, it’s totally okay to take their clothes out and put them on top of the dryer. Anyone that is opposed to that is a fucking baby. Like, why? It’s fine. If you don’t want people touching your clothes then live in a nicer building with in-unit laundry, you goddamn princess.

So I started laundry one night last week. Once it was in the dryer, I went to T’s place for the night. Again, I do this all the time. And I’m not alone! Lots of people leave their laundry down there. When I got home the next morning and went to grab my laundry, it was gone. The reusable dryer ball that I use was placed on top of the machine, but there wasn’t a single item of clothing to be found. I called T immediately, fuming. I was pacing the halls and loudly bitching to him on the phone at 6:30 in the morning. I almost started pounding on doors, but T assured me that I did not want to be “that person.” In lieu of knocking on every door, I decided to make signs for the laundry room and front doors warning the rest of the building that we had a laundry thief among us, and to call me if they knew anything. After putting those up, I was still seething with so much anger that I decided every fucking apartment door in the building needed a sign. I ripped out notebook pages and wrote notes to tape on every single fucking door.

After putting up all the signs, I went to work in old ass scrub pants (since all my good ones had been stolen). I had also texted my landlord and maintenance person to see if they could do anything about it. Turns out there is a camera in the laundry room! Nowhere else, of course, because no one is at all concerned about the homeless person that had been living in a storage unit, but I digress. There was at least a camera where I needed it in this moment.

It ended up not coming to that, though. A few hours later, I got a phone call from one of the guys that lives in the basement units. He doesn’t speak much English, but stated that he was “very sorry” and that he would “put back.” From the little bit I understood, it sounds like it was an accident. Or at least that’s what he’s claiming. I’m sorry, do my hot pink pants and lace underwear look like the clothing of a middle aged man? And why would he make sure to remove the dryer ball? I don’t trust anyone. It sure seems like that fucker was legit trying to steal my clothes. I like to think my aggressive notes all over the building made him realize he shouldn’t fuck with me.

This recipe feels ill timed, as it is the time of resolutions. That means most people have resolved to lose weight, which makes me sad. Instead of focusing on weight, let’s focus on feeding our bodies good food. Sometimes that means food with lots of cheese and tots, and sometimes it means tons of fresh veggies. Today, for me it meant something easy and comforting. It’s been a long and hectic holiday season, and it’s cold as fuck outside here in Minneapolis. That means it’s hot dish season. I didn’t grow up with tater tot hot dish, like a “normal” Minnesotan. My mom (and extended family) is from Wisconsin, so we always called this kind of thing a casserole. And we never used tater tots. The first time I ever even ate tater tot hot dish was when I made it for my roommates in New York at the age of 23. Before that the only casserole I’d had was noodle based and had tomato sauce and ground beef.

Since becoming a vegetarian I have discovered Morningstar Farm meatless crumbles work great in any recipe that calls for ground beef. The texture is pretty spot on. Plus, it made this recipe even easier, as I literally just had to dump a bunch of bags and soup into a bowl. I did not bother cooking the crumbles beforehand, as they would have plenty of time to warm up in the oven. The whole thing took maybe 5 minutes to throw together. The preheating of the oven took longer.

I have to thank Sarah for this recipe. She comes over to hang out with T and me sometimes, and almost always makes us some fucking delicious hot dish. I like to put an egg on it for our hungover asses the next morning.

Tater Tot Hot Dish

2 bags (12oz each) Morningstar Farm meatless crumbles (or 1.5 pounds of cooked ground beef)

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 cup milk

1 bags frozen mixed veggies (I used 10oz bags and they were a mixture of peas, green beans, and corn)

1 pound frozen tater tots (you’ll have leftover)

2ish cups sharp cheddar cheese (enough to cover)

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl mix together the meatless crumbles, veggies, soup, and milk (plus a little salt and pepper). Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish and cover with shredded cheese. Finally, line up all those cute little tots on top. Throw it in the oven for 45-60 minutes. The tots should be crispy and delicious.

Put an egg on it for breakfast, especially when hungover. Then get your second sleep to avoid a full day of your hangover’s bullshit.

brunch · Cheese · comfort food · dinner · easy · potatoes · sides · vegetarian

Wisconsin Style Cheesy Potatoes

Without getting too into the details of it, my grandma passed away recently. I am 33 years old, and, naturally, have never known life without her. She definitely played a bigger roll in my life when I was much younger, but, though we didn’t spend much time together as I got older, I always found comfort in knowing she was at home quilting. In her younger years, she was also cooking. As a mom of 14, and a grandmother to countless more, she used to host a giant Thanksgiving dinner (which I think was actually lunch, if I’m remembering correctly). I have very few memories of this, as she lived 4 hours away so we didn’t attend often, but I do remember the food. To this day I still don’t know if she actually cooked everything. Was it a pot luck? Did the community help? I was a mere child that did not concern herself with the logistical affairs of adults. I was just excited to EAT. (Which is the possible title of my future memoir.)

Dinner always consisted of the classic Midwestern staples, such as ambrosia salad (literally just canned fruit, cool whip, jello, marshmallows, and nuts), various “bars” (I seriously don’t know what people from other areas call these as a general term, but they’re basically variations of brownies and blondies), lots of stuffing and potatoes (we LOVE carbs more than any other area of the country), roast turkey, and probably ham. While I’m sure there were other things like sweet potatoes and green beans, I was mostly focused on cramming my plate as full of potatoes, stuffing, and desserts as possible. I was a sucker for those bars. They were so foreign to me, despite my Midwestern upbringing.

IMG_20181111_162421.jpg

You see, my mom hates chocolate (I know). We also weren’t a dessert family in general. Our desserts were isolated to holidays and vacations, and were absolutely never chocolate based (most of my favorite bars have a thick layer of chocolate). Vacations were a free-for-all, and I recall eating ice cream for lunch and/or refrigerated cookie dough for dinner on several vacations with my mom as a child. Holidays always consisted of pie – both apple and pumpkin. My mom would always ask if we wanted whipped or ice cream, and it wasn’t until I became an adult that I developed the boldness to ask for both. I didn’t realize that this was all semi-abnormal until I was in my early 20’s, when I realized most other families offered dessert after dinner every night. Maybe this is why I have such an affinity for baking and sweets.

My mom loves to bake cookies, as we discovered here, but never baked much of anything else. Grandma, on the other hand, apparently baked quite a bit when she was younger. I discovered several years ago that my grandma used to make cinnamon rolls regularly when my mom was a child. Mom said that the kids would often fight over who would eat the last bite of dough that wasn’t big enough to be baked with the rest of the rolls. I made cinnamon rolls once in my life, and it was about 5 years ago. The whole thing was so time consuming and full of steps that it was the last time I ever attempted it. When I mentioned how difficult they were to my grandma, she laughed and said that she made them all the time for her children because they were so easy. Now I’m wondering if maybe I could learn a little patience and perhaps try it again. If she can do it with 14 children running around, I could certainly do it with one cat and one monster of a kitten at my feet.

IMG_20181027_131305.jpg

But that’s a blog post for another time. This week I made cheesy potatoes. They were something my grandma made for most occasions, and a staple of the Midwestern diet. They were even served with the lunch buffet after her funeral, which then ended with a huge variety of ice cream treats (her very favorite). This isn’t her recipe, as I don’t actually have her recipe, but it was found in the Waunakee, Wisconsin cookbook that I was given for my wedding many years ago, so I figured it was close enough. These are simple, hearty, and creamy – a true comfort food that will stick to your ribs and keep you warm during a cold winter. This week was the perfect week to make them, as it has been unseasonably cold here in Minneapolis, sometimes only making it up to 25 degrees during the day. I’m enjoying the leftovers more than anything, since they are excellent at all times of the day. I’ve been eating them with my eggs for breakfast a lot. Because of my association with cheesy potatoes, they make every meal feel like a special occasion.

We all remember and honor loved ones in different ways. For me, it’s food. Do any of you have recipes that help you feel close to your grandma? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

 

Cheesy PotatoesIMG_20181111_162425.jpg

6 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 small onion, diced

1 can cream of mushroom soup (the recipe called for cream of chicken)

2 cups milk

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 stick butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add diced onion and saute until translucent. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 2-4 minutes. Pour into a 9×13 glass baking dish, or whatever you have. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the top browns slightly. Serve with anything you like – eggs, meat, veggies. Or maybe just eat a bowl of this and call it a meal. You do you.

IMG_20181111_143416.jpg

Bourdain discovered his love of butter this week.

 

*Cheers to you, Grandma. There’s not a single swear in this whole post.*

broccoli · brunch · comfort food · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · mushrooms · potatoes · sides · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Wrestling · Yummy

Lemon and Dill Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

So I went to a wrestling match the other day. It was at Bauhaus Brewery in Minneapolis. I don’t really do beer, but was in a drinkin’ mood, so I downed 2 within the first 30 minutes. I mean, if I’m watching “wrassling,” as T calls it, I better be hammered. HAMMERED.

I’m 5’5 and T is 6’3, but I matched that fucker beer for beer.

Have y’all ever been to a wrestling match? Now, I don’t mean proper wrestling as a sport. I mean “wrassling” as a performance (think WWE). It is a weird hodgepodge of humans that enjoy this shit. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is fucking entertaining.  But some of these people are obsessed. And their excitement is contagious. I mean, fuck, towards the end of the show I was full on meowing with the performer… complete with making my hand into a claw and “scratching” the air in front of me (he had a cat theme going, so I was on board). I mean, honestly, get a few drinks into me and I can get excited about anything.

They only had one women’s match, which is a bunch of bullshit. At least the women they chose were badasses. I was rooting for the shorter, plainer looking girl, because, I mean… obviously. But then the traditionally “hot” girl started putting all this crazy lipstick around the outside of her lips and acting full-on INSANE, and I was like, “Murder that little plain bitch!!!”

IMG_20180812_175634

I mean… LOOK AT HER.

Also, wrestlers are fucking HOT. Most of the dudes that performed were beefy as fuck. We made our rounds at the end of the show to meet all the wrestlers. I don’t know why (beer), but T insisted I be photographed with everyone (because beer). He kept telling them how excited I was to be at my first show, so they were all super sweet to our drunk asses.

61032

T was about to take the picture when he stopped everything and said, “Hold on… hold on… Something’s not right…” I honestly thought something was wrong with his phone or something. But then he said, “Hey man, do you think you could take your shirt off for her?” And that’s when I knew I was in love.

There was one guy that acquired some sort of head wound during his match, and it caused blood to pour down his face. You better believe that fucker left the dried blood all over his face for the rest of the night. I’m sure it was for dramatic effect… and photo ops. I fell for it. Obvi.

61029

This was literally 2+ hours after that head injury. No one could get him a towel?

My only complaint was that this event was held on a Sunday. I mean, why? WHY? I was hungover at work the next day, which is the fucking worst.

We have tickets for another wrestling performance next month, and I’m fucking psyched. Who knew?

We like to contradict stereotypes, so we watch wrestling and shop at the farmer’s market. That’s where we got these delicious little fingerling potatoes. They make everything feel a little fancy, and they’re easy to make.

IMG_20180828_074056

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

2ish pounds Fingerling potatoes, washed and sliced in half

1 head broccoli, cut into florets

As many mushrooms as you want (I used around 8oz, but wanted more)

Juice from 1/2 lemon (or about 2 tablespoons)

Garlic powder

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Fresh dill (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Bring a pot of water to boil and add in the potatoes. Boil for about 10 minutes (just to start the cooking process). We don’t need them to be cooked all the way, but want to cut down on roasting time. After 10 minutes, drain and rinse potatoes and dump into a large mixing bowl. Add in the broccoli and mushrooms. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon. Toss with a sprinkle of garlic powder, lots of salt, and a bit of pepper. Make sure it’s all mixed well before spreading onto a baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring things around halfway through. Once done, top with a bunch of fresh chopped dill. Serve with whatever you like! I serve everything with an egg. Sometimes I add some green beans, too.

IMG_20180812_180552

LOL

Beans · comfort food · Crock pot · dinner · easy · healthy · lunch · mushrooms · potatoes · soup · vegetarian

Potato and Corn Chowder

Shit. I have been busy as fuck lately. I have only been to one yoga class all week. WHO AM I?

Sigh.

I consistently find myself overextended. On top of my full-time job and teaching, I also do cat sitting (yes, that is a thing). For some reason, my clients often go out of town all at the same time. They don’t know each other, so I have no idea how this always fucking happens(they probably all get together and decide, “Hey, let’s fuck up Kelsey’s week… she’s had it too good lately, anyway”). Because of this, I ended up having almost no time to myself last week. As I mentioned before, I only made it to one yoga class, and skipped Acro altogether. This made me a cranky bitch at work, so who am I really helping by saying yes to everything? Fucking no one. So I’m practicing saying no. I have absolutely no more energy to give. It’s mine, and I need this time to recharge. That means saying no when my boss at the studio asks me to sub a class, and then not feeling guilty if I end up attending said class. It’s not that I don’t have the time… it’s that I don’t have the mental energy. And that’s exactly what teaching is… exchanging energy. I’m learning how to hold on to the energy I do have, and only give it when I truly want to/have enough. I currently need time to replenish. Anyone have any tips for learning how to say no and prioritize? I feel like I’m constantly reminding myself that it’s okay to say no, but I often end up feeling guilty.

Side note: It’s hot as fuck outside right now. All I want to do is lay in bed, watch Jane the Virgin, eat ice cream, and blast the A/C.

Don’t judge me.

Speaking of the A/C…. I finally got my window unit set up and ready to go (thanks, Stacy!). I’ve been blasting the air all weekend, even when it wasn’t that hot. I’m not sorry. It feels like fucking magic to be able to sleep in a blanket burrito again.

2017-05-28 19.59.06

The beautiful thing about crock pot recipes is that they’re perfect for my schedule, and they don’t heat up my apartment when it’s hot as fuck outside. I am constantly on the go, and having a crock pot makes it possible for me to eat home cooked meals instead of picking up take-out(though, let’s be real… I do that anyway). I literally threw all of these ingredients into the crock pot over my lunch break one day. It took maybe 15 minutes (only because I had to chop the veggies) and I had dinner ready when I got home later.

Fuck yeah. I’m adulting so hard over here.

20170529_133919

Potato and Corn Chowder

4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 (10 oz) bag of frozen corn

1 carrot, peeled and sliced

1/4 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 handful mushrooms, chopped

1 can chickpeas

3 tablespoons flour

6 cups veggie stock

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

Throw the veggies in a slow cooker and toss with the flour until they’re all coated. Add the chickpeas. Pour in the veggie stock and add the seasonings. Set the slow cooker to high and leave it for 3-4 hours. Once it’s finished, scoop out a few cups and throw it in a blender. Pour it back in with the rest of the soup. Add the butter and cream and stir well. Top with chopped green onion if you want, along with some bread and butter.

Give yourself a fucking break and learn how to say no.

comfort food · gluten free · lunch · potatoes · quick · shopping · sides · vacation · vegetarian

Homemade Mashed Potatoes and Vacation Brain

I’m going on vacation today, but my brain has been turned off for at least 2 days. It makes everything more difficult. My patience is wearing thin (and, let’s be real, it’s not great to begin with). I was up late last night frantically packing, because it’s impossible for me to plan ahead. I also insisted upon going to an acro jam, because apparently I wanted to have even less time to pack. And I showed up late to the jam (which, if you don’t know, is just a term for acro people getting together and doing acro for a few hours without a teacher), because I was starving to death. I made mashed potatoes at the last minute, which is silly because it’s not really an on-the-go type of food.

I also ended up going to MOA (for those that aren’t cool and live in MN, that stands for Mall of America) after work last night to return a swimsuit that I purchased online last week. I think I’ve complained about this before, but what is the fucking deal with plus size swimsuits(or is it all of them?)? I ordered one from Torrid with these cute little pink details and a much needed underwire… only to find that it won’t even remotely accommodate my chest. I even tried it on in a bigger size in the store, and technically it fit… but fuuuuck. I was going to have a nip slip for sure, and I don’t need that kind of stress in my life. Fuck that shit. I’m all for a sexy, low-cut look… but I also intend to be swimming and snorkeling. I need to feel secure in my swimsuit. I’m sick of all the stores carrying the some shitty styles in plus size. Like, no, I do NOT want a fucking halter top. Why is this the most common option? Can you even comprehend how heavy my breasts are? That skinny ass fucking strap is cutting into my neck. It’s horrible. And even this one that I purchased last week, which was supposedly made for my body type, is completely impractical. I was literally going to fall out the top of it, and then to make matters worse, there were padded inserts to help push me further out of the top. What. The. Fuck.

Anyway, I did end up finding something I like, but the whole experience was a pain in the ass. I’m just glad it’s not a halter and that it doesn’t have a fucking skirt attached. Stop trying to hide my body. Fuck.

While I’m so excited about all the amazing things I’ll be doing while on this vacation, one of the most exciting parts of it for me is that I will get to turn my brain off for a bit. I’m fucking exhausted. For 2 whole weeks I won’t have to worry about bills, chores, work, or (most importantly) dating. I don’t have to fucking overthink anything, or analyze intentions. I just get to fucking relax and have fun. This trip is so needed right now. And I will get to spend time with a handful of my favorite people, which just makes it even better. Plus, I’ll get to eat mochi every single day in Hawaii.

So these mashed potatoes (is it still plural when it’s just one potato?), like I said, were made on a whim when I was starving last night. I was really craving french fries, but you know, you can’t always have what you want. I’m a big fan of leaving the skin on for mashed potatoes (my mom always says that’s where all the nutrients are), but you’re welcome to peel yours first. I live alone, so I usually only boil and mash one lone potato. It works out really well, because that one potato fluffs up to double it’s size! Try it out. Making mashed potatoes for one doesn’t have to be considered “too much effort.” It’s really easy, actually. Besides, you’re worth the extra effort.

20170414_192442

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

1 large russet potato, unpeeled (but remove all the growths on it, because we all know it’s been sitting in your cabinet for weeks)

1.5 tablespoons butter

A large splash of half and half or milk (~1/4 cup)

Salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil. You only need enough water to fully cover the potatoes. While waiting for the water to boil, wash your potato and chop up into 1-2″ cubes. Once water starts boiling, throw in the potatoes (Carefully! Splashing boiling water is no joke!). I suppose you could just put the potatoes in before boiling the water, but I like to live on the edge. Let boil for about 10-15 minutes (until soft – you’ll know by stabbing a cube with a fork, lifting it out of the water, and it falls right off). Drain and place back into the same pot. Add butter and start to mash with a potato masher. I like to wait until the butter is mostly melted before adding the half and half. Start with a small splash of half and half and mash a bit more. If it’s still too thick, add some more. Continue adding half and half until it’s the consistency you like, and then add some salt and pepper. Taste as you go. You’ll need more salt than pepper, but pepper can be a nice touch.

You could also top this with some green onion, or add in some cooked mushrooms and garlic. Roasted garlic is always good with mashed potatoes, too. But I kept mine simple last night, mostly for a lack of time. Serve with whatever the fuck you want. I did a fake chicken patty and some arugula, because that’s all I had lying around. I wouldn’t judge you at all for serving it with nothing. Just eat that shit right out of the pan while watching some Netflix if it makes you happy. Fuck going out and socializing.

brunch · comfort food · dinner · easy · lunch · pizza · vegan · vegetarian

A Love Note to Cortney – and Vegan Potato Pizza

My favorite person in the entire world might be coming to visit me this fall. She’s a little nervous about it (new things are scary – don’t judge her!), so this post is to help encourage her. She’s probably the only one that will read it, and I don’t even care.

Last night I told her I would cook her delicious food for her every single day she’s visiting (I think she’s staying for 2-3 weeks). Her timid response was, “But what if I’m vegan?”

What?!

Cortney – I will love you no matter what your eating choices! And I will learn how to cook all the delicious vegan food for you. Starting with this fucking pizza! We will make it together, while listening to Over the Rainbow, and practicing yoga poses in the kitchen.

She also asked if we could go for a walk in the forest. I was like, “Sure… but we’ll have to drive to a forest.” Her response?

“Can we drive to a forest?”

Fuck yes we can drive to a forest! And we’ll hike the shit out of it. Cortney says she loves hiking, but not serious hiking. She likes what she refers to as ,”Michelle Obama hiking.” That basically means she likes to walk on flat land, while looking really cute, and not breaking a sweat. I love her so much.

20160501_192920

It should be mentioned that Cortney is from Hawaii, the greatest place in the world. Seems fitting, since she’s the greatest person in the world.  Everyone cross your fingers for me that this visit actually happens. Because we will have so much fun exploring Minnesota together! We’ll go to Minnehaha Falls, Stillwater, and even Duluth! I’ll take her fucking Michelle Obama hiking on the shores of Lake Superior! She will be appalled at the temperature of the water, and it will be hilarious.

Cortney – don’t forget to bring me some mochi. Also, you owe me an email. xoxo

20160501_192345

Potato Pizza (originally found on Smitten Kitchen)

Half of the pizza dough recipe

3-4 potatoes (I used yellow potatoes), sliced as thin as you possibly can

1/4 of a large onion, chopped

4-5 tablespoons of olive oil (I honestly didn’t measure this)

1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped

2 teaspoons salt

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Fill a large bowl with about a quart of luke warm water. Mix in the 2 teaspoons of salt until fully dissolved before adding the potatoes. Let soak for 40 minutes (or overnight because you got way too drunk to assemble this shit). Pour potatoes into a strainer, and squeeze out as much water as possible. Then lay them on a bed of paper towels for a few minutes. In another large bowl, add onions and potatoes. Toss with salt, pepper, and a generous splash of olive oil. Brush the pizza dough with olive oil, then top with the potato/onion mixture. Make sure to layer evenly, adding thicker layers of potato closer to the edges. Sprinkle with rosemary and bake for 25 – 35 minutes.

I tried adding cheese to this… it didn’t make it better.

Shove the whole thing in your face and go frolick with your best friend.