I broke down earlier in the week, and purchased my own domain…You can now visit me at: www.tramplingrose.com. All of my WordPress stuff is there, and maybe one day, I’ll upload all my old Blog-City posts (but don’t count on it)!

I made Cincinnati chili last night, and the bambino refused to eat his 3-Way. Jay asked why, and the bambino said “Chili too hot, Daddy.” Jay pointed out that by the time he left the table, the chili was cool enough for the bambino to eat. The bambino looked up at the ceiling for a minute and said “No, not hot…Chili too…’picy. How ’bout French fries instead?” I’d been planning on making a Weight Watchers Greek-style lemon chicken & potato dish, but when I asked the bambino if that was okay, he repeated his request for French fries. So I obliged. I did homemade chicken tenders to go along with my homemade fries, although since Jay & I don’t mind spice, I tossed ours in buffalo sauce. Yum. Here’s all I did:

For the fries, I peeled & sliced my 3 remaining organic Russets, then tossed them in about a tablespoon of olive oil & some seasoning salt (McCormick, I think). Then I spread the in a single layer on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper, because I am lazy & didn’t want extra clean-up), and popped them in a 400°F oven for 45 minutes (tossing them after about 20 minutes):

For the chicken tenders, I sliced up 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, soaked them in milk, then tossed them in a bag with about 1/2 C of flour, some garlic salt, onion powder, black pepper, and some paprika. Then I fried them in canola oil:

I heart my cast-iron skillet for such meals.

After they were done (about 4 minutes per side, since I’d sliced them a little thick), I drained them on paper towels:

Like the BBQ Meatballs the other night, at this point, I wanted to sample them. And since I’m always paranoid that I’ll somehow undercook the chicken, the bambino & I did a couple quality checks on some of the smaller tenders. I kept them warm in the toaster oven while I mixed up the buffalo sauce:

2 tablespoons of butter, and probably 1/2 C of the wing sauce. Mmmm…buffalo sauce….And by that point, the fries were done, so it was time to eat:

And yes, that is my Spock Burger King glass in the background. I don’t know why (other than the obvious fact that Spock is awesome, and my favorite Star Trek character, next to Bones, and Capt. Picard) I am hugely possessive of that glass, and I get rather annoyed when I find that Jay’s gotten to it before I have once it’s been washed.

Things like this are the reason I had to join Weight Watchers:

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bars, thank you, Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. I was going to be good and wait until after dinner before having a sample, but we took a drive out West after running to the store (the bambino fell asleep in the backseat), and once we got home, I was a bit peckish. I had planned to wait until dinner before eating again, since I also made these this morning:

Everyday Food’s Yogurt Waffles (also from the April 2010 issue). Filling, crispy & delicious. And the bambino had fun helping to make them.

Yogurt Waffles


3/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C whole-wheat flour
1/2 C rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C packed light brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar because I had just enough left for the 1/4 C)
3 Tbsp melted, unsalted butter (I used salted, since, again, that’s what I had)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 C plain, low-fat yogurt (I used Stonyfield Farm’s Low-Fat French Vanilla, since I didn’t want to give up my Chobani for this)


Preheat the oven to 250°F. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, oats, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, butter, eggs, and yogurt until smooth. Stir egg mixture into dry mixture, and mix well to combine. Let batter rest for 15 minutes (it should be rather puffy & airy when the 15 minutes is up).

Heat a waffle iron according to directions & either brush with more melted butter, or spray with cooking spray of your choice. Pour 1/2 C of batter onto iron and close. Cook until waffle is golden and crisp, about 3 minutes (I checked mine after 5 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack on a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.

I dunno what’s with me and oats these days, but between having steel-cut oats or yogurt with granola for breakfast, The Pioneer Woman’s BBQ Meatballs, the waffles and the chocolate-peanut butter bars, I’ve eaten a lot of oats in the past week or two. Which is a good thing. The extra fiber never hurts. And oats are so versatile. I’d have to track the recipe down, but I was thinking last night about making an oats & buttermilk snacking cake. I forget where I got the recipe, and I don’t think I’ve made it since we bought our house 2 years ago. The last time I recall making it was in our apartment. But it too is delicious, and I’ve got plenty of oats to use up!

I have to go into work for a couple hours tomorrow, so I left a couple hours early today. My boss will generally give me the option of leaving early or getting some OT, and after some irritation with some things yesterday, I decided to take this afternoon off. I figured I’d get the grocery shopping out of the way, even though I could very easily have done it Sunday before Meet the Press (which I’m not even sure I want to watch, as Rep. John Boehner from my home state of Ohio will be on, and any time that man opens his mouth, my blood boils. I am done talking politics now, otherwise my head will explode.). But it was nice having an afternoon off.

We didn’t need a whole lot at the store this time–The usual bananas, milk & yogurt was all we really needed. I did have to get more pork chops, as Jay is an awful lot like Homer Simpson in the aspect that both of them would live off pork products alone if allowed. I did also stock up on laundry stuff, as Seventh Generation stuff is on sale this month, and I had some coupons. And Organic Valley butter is also on sale. I did something a couple weeks ago that I regretted–Horizon Organics has butter that is now being stocked in my Hy-Vee, and because it’s about 2 bucks cheaper than Organic Valley, I bought 2 lbs. I won’t be doing that again. I swear the stuff is already rancid, and it’s been in my freezer since I bought it. I hate to waste food, when we’re already on a tight-enough budget, but I’ve been waffling on whether or not I want to throw it out. I stopped buying anything from Horizon Organics a couple years ago, once I learned they’re basically a large factory farm that pretends to be organic. But for right now, the butter is still in my freezer.

I did also need some potatoes, because the bambino has been requesting the Pioneer Woman’s BBQ meatballs, and since I had the time this afternoon, I obliged him:

They’re a little time-intensive, but very well-worth the effort. They go from this:

To this:

(At this point, raw in the center or not, I had to restrain myself from popping a couple into my mouth)

And finally:

Obviously, Ree’s pictures are far better than mine, and I did tweak her recipe only slightly. Both the sauce and the meatballs call for chopped onions in her recipe. As I cannot stand onions (it’s not the taste–I love onion flavoring, but I can’t handle the texture. It grosses me out, the same way the texture of coconut grosses me out.), and my husband doesn’t care for them either, I used a heckuva lot of onion powder instead. They were delicious enough that Jay had 3 servings, and I’m hoping that the 4 that are left are still waiting for me when I get home from work tomorrow (although I’m pretty sure that’s extremely wishful thinking on my part!).

I had a request from my friend Abby that I make the Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies WITH the chili powder sometime in the very near future. She’s about halfway through her pregnancy, so I don’t know how that will go over with her boy-bug, but for my 3rd trimester, the bambino & I craved hot sauce. I ate a LOT of buffalo chicken those last 3 months. I also had a request from Auntie Em that I actually post the recipe, so here it is:

Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies (from Everyday Food, April 2010)


2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch-process cocoa)
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I used Organic Valley Salted Sweet Cream butter because that’s all I had)
1 3/4 C sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. chili powder (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F, with racks in upper & lower thirds positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer*, beat butter & 1 1/2 C sugar until light & fluffy (about 2 minutes), scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs, and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture & beat to combine.

*(I do believe that when the recipe calls for an electric mixer, they’re thinking of a heavy-duty stand mixer, rather than a hand mixer. I used my trusty Cuisinart hand mixer, and was seriously afraid that halfway through adding in the flour mixture, I’d burn the motor out. Being unable to afford the Kitchen Aid that I’ve decided I now need, the next time I make these, I’ll do the mixing by hand. My arms could do with some strengthening anyway.)

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 C sugar, cinnamon & chili powder (unless you wuss out like I did). Using heaping tablespoons, roll the dough into balls, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar-chili powder mixture.  Place 2-3 inches apart on baking sheets (mine didn’t spread out as much as I was expecting, so 2 inches apart is probably fine), and bake until the centers of the cookies are set & starting to crack–About 10 minutes. Rotate the sheets after 5 minutes. Let cookies cool for a couple minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks.

I will say that these are not diet-friendly cookies–6 WW points per 2 cookies, so eat at your own risk! A friend (also doing Weight Watchers) made the point that had I added the chili powder, these would’ve become the type of cookies that one savors, rather than shoves in one’s face, and therefore would be an acceptable indulgence. I do believe she is correct.

It was so nice being able to go for a walk after work tonight. In spite of the puddles, and in spite of the mud, the fresh air was wonderful. We just went around the block, since neither Jay or I was skeptical that the bambino would make it the whole way without wanting to be carried. The poor little guy tripped and fell, and has a nice goose egg on his forehead now.

I love baking with Dutch cocoa, but it is a HUGE pain and seems to get EVERYwhere. We’re having a bake sale tomorrow at work for a coworker who’s possibly got MS, and her husband is either having or has had back surgery, so I decided to make the Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies from my latest issue of Everyday Food (I don’t have a link to the recipe, because all I found was a Betty Crocker one, which very well could be the same, but I didn’t bother to look, and I’m too lazy to type out the recipe right now. Perhaps when I have more time or I come back to proofread, I’ll provide it.). I did leave out the chili powder, just because I don’t think it would’ve gone over very well, although I was rather curious to try the cookies that way. No matter…The dough (and cookie) that I sampled tasted just fine as is:

While my ego hopes that all my cookies sell, I’m also secretly hoping that no one appreciates the beauty that is chocolatey cinnamon, and that I get to bring a bunch back home with me. The recipe made 33 cookies (minus what I sampled as I was making the dough), so I’ll take 2 dozen for the bake sale, and keep the rest for myself. It’s after 10, so I need to go bag them up and get myself to bed.

The first day back to work after Daylight Savings Time always drags. I spent most of the morning wishing for 5 o’clock, then got busy enough that around 3, I was wishing that the clock on my phone was correct, and it was the clock on my computer that was incorrect (someone forgot to update the clock on the phones until after 4 this afternoon). I was pleased to discover when I got home that I still have a back yard, and that there is greenish grass underneath the melting snow and amid the mud.

I also discovered that Popchips are evil. Kendra was kind enough to get me a subscription to the Weight Watchers magazine for my birthday last year, and they occasionally have ads for Popchips. Living in Nowhere, SoDak, they don’t carry them anywhere around here, but I did find them in the Sioux Falls Target last evening when we were there. So I bought some. Big mistake. I held off on opening the bag until this evening, then proceeded to eat 95% of it. There’s still a handful of crumbs left, and the bambino had a couple little-man handfuls, but I pretty much cleaned out the bag on my own. I have a bag of salt & vinegar ones that are taking all my willpower to stay away from. I’ll probably stuff those in my craw tomorrow night while I watch The Biggest Loser.

In between shoveling in Popchips, I made a nice dinner. A take on grilled cheese & tomato soup, but a little fancier, if you will. Beefy Tomato Pasta Soup:

(This is before I tossed a large handful of croutons on top)

And grilled cheese panini (No recipe here–Just a couple slices of homemade bread and a slice of organic cheddar; slather both sides with butter, and grill on a panini press):

Thanks to the Popchips, I was only able to eat half of it, and left a bit of pasta in my soup bowl. Despite the bambino taking 2 microscopic bites from his sandwich and zero bites of his soup, it went over well-enough, as Jay ate my other sandwich half along with his whole, and cleaned out his soup bowl. For whatever reason, I felt I needed some hot cocoa after all was said and done, and I am now here at my computer regretting it. Good thing I’m already in flannel elastic-waist pants!

This started off as a semi-decent day, in spite of Daylight Savings time. I got up around 6, as did the bambino, so (bad mom that I am sometimes), I parked him in front of some Tom & Jerry as I took a shower. When I was done, my plan was to make up some sausage biscuits and have them ready in time so I could watch Meet the Press before we headed down to Inwood. Before I started the biscuits, I unloaded the dishwasher and when I was done with that, I took out the trash. Our dumpster is right by our back door, and as soon as I opened the door, I noticed that sitting on top was the stack of CDs that we keep in the pocket right underneath the CD player in our car. On top of the CDs was the face-plate to the CD player. And because SoDak has recently become a rainforest, everything was soaked. So I went running upstairs to wake up Jay, who went to check and make sure nothing else had been taken, and I called the cops. One came by about 10 minutes later, and said that most likely, it was punk high school or college kids, and ours was the 5th call he’d responded to this morning. Stupidly, we haven’t been locking our car doors–False sense of security and all, and you don’t necessarily expect that someone will trespass on your property and into a building on your property, unlocked car doors or not. Luckily, nothing had been taken, and whoever had rifled through our things was likely sending us a message. Punk asses. In a way, I’m glad that we weren’t the only ones it happened to, but at the same time, I’m almost afraid that if these kids come back and find our doors locked, they’ll smash a window or something. But hopefully it doesn’t happen again, and this will be the kick in the butt we need to get the garage door fixed.

In spite of that, we had a nice visit with Jay’s grandmother and other relatives down in Inwood. The bambino took a liking to his cousin Rachel, and his great-uncle, and in spite of only getting about a 45-minute nap, was charming and showing off a little for everyone. All in all, it was a nice day, although I’m glad to be back home.

For the first time in over a week, the sun’s trying to break through the clouds. It’s amazing how my mood has perked up now that I’ve noticed it.

I’ve gotten the grocery shopping done, and as usual, spent a little more than I was planning. The bambino needed more diapers, and those aren’t cheap. I also stocked up on a few other things for the week. I did make a menu, and didn’t really deviate from my list. We’ll be doing 2 vegetarian nights this week–Tubetti cacio e uova Tuesday, and then broiled polenta with marinara on Thursday. It’ll help stretch the meat we do have out a bit. Tomorrow night’s not quite vegetarian–Soup & sandwiches, but the soup I’m making will have ground beef in it, and I’ll be dusting off the panini maker for some yummy grilled organic cheese. I don’t know if I’ll use the whole wheat bread that we have half a loaf left of, or if I’ll use the whole wheat oat bread I’ve got resting at the moment.

We’ll be heading down to Inwood, Iowa to visit Jay’s grandmother tomorrow morning. It’ll be interesting–His grandmother is a little nuts, but in a good way. She reminds me a bit of my grandma Myra–Very blunt & outspoken, which I like.

My new issue of Everyday Food showed up this afternoon, so I think I’ll flip through that while I wait for the dryer to finish up!

When I was a kid, I always thought the “Pease” in “Pease Porridge Hot” was little-kid-speak for “Please.” Kind of like the bambino’s “Pwease.” It wasn’t until I was older that I learned it really refers to mashed peas. Blech.

I have a weigh-in today, and I’m not exactly looking forward to it, not just because I think I’m slowly creeping upwards on the scale instead of down…It’s a cold, crappy, dreary, rainy day here on the prairie, and since I ended up sleeping on the couch (thank you, recurring insomnia), I’m exhausted and slightly grumpy (although that I blame on my SAD, as I was much more chipper last week when it was sunny). I was just going to do yogurt & granola again for breakfast, but decided the oatmeal would be a little more comforting, and the strawberries would give me some much-needed vitamin C. Plus, I bought steel-cut oats over the weekend, and I’ve been geekily excited about eating them. I have regular rolled oats, but steel-cut oats turn out much creamier. I had to chuckle about the different packaging, though. I picked up Bob’s Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal, mainly because it was on sale. Other than price and the obvious differences in organic vs. conventional, I fail to see any real difference between the Scottish oatmeal, and regular steel-cut oats. The Scottish oatmeal does have fun plaid packaging, and I am a sucker for anything plaid.