I’ve been pretty quiet around these parts lately (and everywhere else, too). It’s not because I don’t like you. Truly. There are other reasons for this.

First and foremost, I have been avoiding social media because all of this election bullshittery is really getting to me, and I don’t need exposure to stuff that brings me down or makes me disgusted/enraged right now. It’s not helpful and it makes me snarly. I don’t like myself when I’m snarly. I can’t wait until early November when a) the election is over and b) the week following the election is over and everyone’s chilled the Hell off. I’m betting a lot of you feel that way, too.

Second, October is crazy busy for us. We have Miss M.’s birthday, my husband’s birthday, Mozz-man’s birthday and Daddy’s birthday, in that order. That’s a lot of gift buying and special dinner making and celebrating. And yes, we do celebrate Mozzy’s birthday in this family, because we are quirky, dog-crazy people. Thanks so much to everyone who has taken the time so send heartfelt birthday wishes over the month. I’m so lucky.

In addition to birthdays, October is parent-teacher conference season for both girls. That means after school meetings and providing food for teacher conference nights. I always question my sanity when I sign up for those things, and last week, when I found myself elbow deep in Mediterranean Pasta Salad for 16, I questioned it yet again. But we have such amazing teachers in this district, you want to express your appreciation. So pasta for 16 and cookies for 24 it was.

There’s also been some un-fun stuff on the stomach issue side where I’m concerned. That pesky heartburn/dizzy/nausea/vomiting thing that defies diagnosis is back. I’m not happy about this. I’m especially not happy about this because you know what seems to trigger it? Driving in the car. If I am at home and need to hurl, it’s not a problem; the bathroom or a handy bucket is mere steps away. If I’m in the driver’s seat, far away from a toilet bowl, trying to actively and safely maneuver a vehicle? Kinda a problem.

I’ve been carrying a bag in the car with me, just in case, but as I unfortunately learned last week, sometimes your rebellious stomach can’t even wait for you to open a bag before spewing unfortunate goop. I’d just picked Miss D. up from the high school and as we were exiting the (endless) car line at the high school, I could feel that telltale sweaty, creep-up-the-back-of-the-neck heat that let’s you know that you are in big, big trouble. D. could tell something was terribly wrong and as I fumbled for the bag, I choked out, “Oh no, I feel like I’m gon—”


All over my lap, all over the steering wheel, all over the driver’s seat of the car.

It was even more horrible than it sounds.

To my daughter’s credit, she didn’t turn and hurl herself. Nor did she express embarrassment or intense disgust, although I am TOTALLY sure she felt it, because I sure did. As I cried and apologized profusely, she said “Mom, you can’t help stuff like that. It happened too fast.”

As soon as we got home, she skeedaddled outside with the dog while I stripped off my sodden, vile-smelling clothes and started laundry, cleaned all of the nastiness out of the car, Cloroxed every inch of the car interior and showered my gross-a-rama self off.

And that was just last week.

It happened again this week, when I was picking up Miss D. (GAAAAAA, poorpoorpoor D.) from after school tutoring. Just as we were pulling into the driveway, I could feel it coming for me again.

I slammed the car into park and yelled, “Run!”

Which we did.

I barely, just barely, made it into the house before retching all over the place.

“Well hey, Mom,” D. said, clicking on the dog’s collar, “at least you managed to clear the front door. Good job.”

Some bright side.

This stuff is almost as disgusting as the election.

I’ll keep you posted.


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Happy Birthday!

October 16, 2016



Happy Birthday to my awesome man of mystery.



Happy Birthday to the “fun” parent.



Happy Birthday to the King of Cool.



Happy Birthday to the guy who works really hard so we can spend time in awesome places, and who is still my favorite person to talk to.



baby face

Happy Birthday to the guy that everybody loves best.


You are Perfecto Mucho, Baby. I love you.


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Just when I thought fall weather would never get here, we got a rain/cold/fog front at the end of last week. It was downright chippy Thursday (Gaaaaa, do I sound like a Grandma much with that phrasing?) We had heavy rain and thunderstorms in our area; some of the thunderclaps were so loud that it sent Mozz-man racing for cover under the bed, the little chicken.

My husband was out of town at a medical conference for a few days (funny, he was sweating his butt off in San Antonio while I was snuggling up in fluffy socks and a sweater) so I hadn’t planned on cooking much. When he’s away, I get pretty shamefully lazy in the kitchen. Truly slothful. I’m happy to subsist on salads and sandwiches and take a break from preparing meals. The weather change made me crave a bowl of soup, though, so I whipped up a quick Indian red lentil soup for dinner Thursday, which my husband was perfectly content to miss out on. He’s not a fan of lentils, so I took advantage.*

We woke Friday morning to thick, dense, spooky fog, which the girls thought was totally badass. You could barely see two feet in front of you, so when I took Mozzy for his morning walk, he nearly disappeared into the stuff. My hands were completely numb when we came indoors, even though I had light gloves on. One look at the thermometer and I could see why–it was only 33 degrees outside! I guess it’s time for me to start digging around our closets for the winter gear, because frigid mornings are coming for us.

When the weather’s cold like that, I love cooking a pot of something low and slow on the stovetop or in the oven. I love how it gradually perfumes the house with delicious smells of what’s to come, and I spend all day anticipating dinnertime. Friday, I decided carnitas were in order, because who doesn’t love a big old batch of Mexican-flavored goodness?

The only thing I don’t like about carnitas?

How deadly fattening they are. Backside Suicide. Ooof.

Carnitas are traditionally made with juicy, fatty pork shoulder, which is an extremely tasty cut of meat but not exactly health food. A serving of carnitas can set you back about 700 calories, and that’s without counting the tortillas, guacamole and all the fixin’s that go alongside them (and let’s face it, you need the fixin’s).

That’s fine if you’re a marathon runner or a lumberjack, but for most of us, we’d be better off eating something a little lighter.

The solution seems sly but is actually fairly straightforward: swap out the fat-marbled pork shoulder for much leaner boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which have just enough richness to satisfy without breaking the calorie bank.

This recipe is a bit time consuming, but truly, it’s worth the effort. Most of the time is hands-off; after searing the chicken to smithereens (seriously, you want an almost-concerning amount of char on the outside of the chicken) you add enough liquid to make a nice little hot tub and slowly braise the whole thing for about an hour and a half. The result is a flavorful, juicy batch of carnitas that work well wrapped in tortillas, as a topping for nachos (yaaasss, nachos please) or even adding heft and deliciousness to a pot of chile verde.

It’s the perfect thing for a brisk fall evening or to feed the troops on game day, and you won’t have to fret about outgrowing your favorite pair of jeans. Plus, all of that slow-braising makes the house smell awesome. Winning! You’ll tuck into a plate of these and be happy you bothered.





Chicken Carnitas

slightly adapted from Mad Delicious

serves 6


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cups sliced yellow onion

6 garlic cloves, cut in half

2 cups water

1 (12-oz.) light beer

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

To serve:

fresh lime wedges

diced avocado

salsa of your choice (I made a spicy one with pineapple and YUM)

cotija cheese

shredded lettuce

pickled jalapeno slices


Rub the chicken thighs with the salt.

In a large, heavy-duty Dutch oven, pour in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the chicken thighs in a single layer and cook 12 minutes, or until very well browned. Flip chicken and cook on the other side for 8 minutes or until chicken looks alarmingly brown.

Add the onions and garlic and stir for about a minute. Add water and beer and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a nice, steady simmer and cook, uncovered, for about an hour and 20 minutes, or until the liquid is about 1/4 cup from being fully evaporated and chicken is very tender.

Add the orange juice, lime juice, brown sugar and cumin. Continue to cook about 2 minutes or until chicken is nicely glazed. Remove pot from heat.

Let chicken cool 10-15 minutes or until cool enough to handle but still warm. Remove the chicken and shred with 2 forks. Return chicken to pan and warm through. Taste for salt/pepper and adjust.

Serve with desired accompaniments.

* The Indian Lentil soup will be forthcoming for you readers who like ‘em!

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October 4, 2016

Curry Love: Potato Curry with Onion and Tomatoes

September 29, 2016

Poke Time

September 7, 2016