Fall Update and Spicy Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

September 13, 2016

How’s everyone adjusting to their new fall schedules? The first week nearly crushed us, if I’m honest, but doesn’t it always? Week two was smoother sailing, as we began settling into our new routine, and by the end of the second week, I was starting to feel a little smug and pleased with myself. I was staying on top of the lunch-packing and the laundry, we’d figured out how to best get breakfast into our high schooler, who needs to be out the door by a little after 7am, and both girls were diligently getting homework finished and checked. Oh, and we hadn’t ordered takeout once for dinner. Sure, I made pizza a few times and one night was breakfast for dinner night, but hey, I was cooking.

Going into Labor Day weekend, I was feeling mighty good about things. And then it happened.

It always does.

Invasion of the back-to-school germs.

The Friday morning before Labor Day weekend, Miss D. woke up, stumbled down the stairs and croaked, “My throat is super sore, Mom.”

Swell. Just swell. I put extra ice cubes in her morning smoothie and dosed her with DayQuil and sent her off to school, with the reminder that if things got really dire, she could call me during the day and I’d come get her. To her credit, she stuck out the day, but by the time I picked her up, she felt feverish and crawled into bed.

Less than an hour later, when I picked Miss M. up from school, she slumped in her seat on the drive home. “I don’t feel so good,” she said.

By Saturday morning, the conflagration was in full swing. Sore throats, fevers, hacking coughs and runny noses. I spent Saturday morning dousing every household surface in Clorox and popping vitamins and probiotics, praying I didn’t come down with it.

Of course, I did. By late Saturday afternoon, the telltale “fire-in-the-hole” esophagus reared its ugly head. In the middle of the night, the cough came to the party and by 3am, the snotfest decided to crash our little get-together, too. And they didn’t even bring a 6-pack, those assholes.

Our “holiday” weekend wasn’t much of a holiday, and of course, my version of the virus was TEN times worse than the girls’ version. Why the heck is that? Huh? Miss D. was feeling well enough to return to school Tuesday, no problem. Miss M. stayed home Tuesday but returned Wednesday, a little worse for wear but still okay. ME? Flattened for an entire 8 days. I have spent the entire past week swilling copious amounts of tea and soup and emergency Thoddy’s, all to no avail. I mean it. Usually, if I go into Ninja mode on a virus, consuming only chicken soup and orange juice and tea for 2-3 days, I can kick the motherfucker, but this time, no dice.

So much for week three of school, eh? Oh, and week three was Homecoming week at D.’s high school, so she was busy with a bazillion activities, saddled with a bitter, nasty, phlegmy chauffeur. ps: what kind of moron high school schedules Homecoming on week 3 of school? That is freakishly early. That’s against Homecoming Law, or something.

Anyways. We survived. Barely.

The good news on the school front is that Miss D. is really liking high school. After the first couple of days, I asked her how things were going and she said, “Mom, it’s crazy, but I have hope.” That cracked me up.

But really, she talks a lot about how much more open, friendly and laid-back her high school teachers are compared to her middle school teachers.

“They treat us like human beings,” she mused.

“That’s because the job of a middle school teacher is to squash your spirit and your soul,” I said. “By high school, the teachers figure that you’ve been beaten into submission enough to trust you again.”

So yeah. She likes her teachers, likes her classes, and she is wearing color again. Oh my gosh, I am trying not to show how excited I am about this. Pink is back on the menu, as is blue and green and even red. She is wearing dresses and skirts, which have been on {sad} 3-year hiatus. She wore a freaking bow in her hair this past Friday.

The Black Widow Phase appears to be over, at least for now, and I am incredibly grateful. High school was where I finally found my people, my posse of music/theater/drama/English kids. We were wildly different and from crazy different backgrounds, but we shared passions and interests, so none of the other stuff really mattered. Not all high schools work like this, I know. I was really lucky to attend a fairly small high school where all talents were embraced, not just athletics or physical beauty. I have no idea how Miss D.’s high school journey will turn out, but–like her–I have hope.

Miss M. seems to enjoy 5th grade so far, but dang, it’s hard for me to enjoy this year with her because all I see on the horizon is: middle school. I’d better snap out of it quick and embrace this fleeting year, because we all know what’s coming. She’s still her sweet, shy self with a surprisingly sassy sense of humor, when she decides to wield it. I have to practice telling myself, “slow down and enjoy her, Mama.” I’m going to try. Promise.

In other news, it’s been beautiful on the weather front here, and this weekend was absolutely glorious for football games and Homecoming mischief and taking Mozzy on long, cool morning walks. He’s loving the cooler weather (and the proliferation of rabbits in our neighborhood). We still have some steamy days, but they’re peppered with some cooler ones and I’ve noticed a few leaves in the area beginning to turn.

We still have time to grill, though, so please, don’t squander these last few weeks of cooking outdoors. After a week of a steady diet of soup, I was definitely looking forward to something more interesting and substantial. I made these stuffed portobello mushrooms for lunch and they were tremendously good. I’m still a congested fool, so I made them spicy, just to get the juices flowing, but you can adjust the recipe to suit your spice tastes. If you are a vegetarian, you can totally skip adding in the sausages and just bulk up the ratio of potatoes in the dish. If you can get your hands on some roasted Hatch green chiles, by all means, throw them in.

And then dig in. These are swoon-worthy.





Grilled Stuffed Mexican Portobellos
serves 4

4 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned, gills and stems removed
1 large or 2 medium russet potatoes, baked and mashed
2 spicy sausages: you can use Italian, chorizo, andouille, whatever you can find
1/3 cup salsa
1/4 cup reduced fat cream cheese
1- 2 chopped seeded jalapeno peppers, seeds removed if desired
2/3 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
salt, pepper and chile flakes to taste

Heat grill to medium-high. Brush portobellos with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until mushrooms begin to soften a little, about 2 minutes per side.

Remove sausages from casings and cook over medium heat; drain fat. Combine sausage with remaining ingredients. Stuff into mushrooms. If desired, top with a little extra cheese.

Grill, with lid closed, until cheese is hot and melted, 5-10 minutes.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

michelle September 20, 2016 at 3:59 pm

I’m so glad mine are done with middle school. total torture. and glad i have a job that has transformed me into a cockroach. im immune to everything


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