No more Skillet and Whatever Mondays, for one

I have to say, I'm seriously considering making "Skillet (Whatever) and Rice" a Monday staple because  it's a good way to ease back into actual food-making for the week without thinking very hard about it. Plus my children will generally eat rice, probably because they sense that it is just a primitive form of crackers.

Recipe: Skillet Curried Chicken and Rice.  Why this recipe usually sucks: "There are lots of bad recipes out there for quick chicken and rice." Pretty vague slam, America's Test Kitchen!

This was really good though, so you just keep doing you, ATK.

I Wouldn't Say It Feels Like Fall Exactly But Maybe Summertime In a More Reasonable Place activities:

Birthday partying!

Contemplating whether the excitement of life as a SuperBlood Werewolf would be worth the many obvious  tradeoffs!


Endless Summer, but in a sad way

Well, the autumn equinox has come and gone and every year I remind myself that it will still be hot at the end of September and that's the way it's always been and you don't have to be happy about it but please stop acting like you're surprised by it, and every year I end up wailing "Why can't you conform to the calendaaaaaaaaaaaar?" toward the Texas heavens. So here we are, eating inappropriate fall comfort foods, waiting for the winter solstice to come and bring us some relief.

Recipe: Pear and Cranberry Chopped Salad. Why this recipe usually sucks: "random collection of cut-up produce…watery and bland."

This version is intended to be "livelier" than most, and, I don't know, I guess? It's nice and colorful. 

Dan actually did all the chopping here. I just threw a pile of vegetables at him.

Recipe: Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice. Why this recipe usually sucks: IT DOESN'T. Even America's Test Kitchen is forced to admit that the combination of beans and rice is delicious in all its forms.

This version does make it easier to convince one's three-year-old that dinner is purple, if one is in need of such a tactic.

We're so invigorated by the autumn breezes that we've been trying to get out and about as much as possible.

So much

new energy


SSFMLA Takes In a Show

Pop quiz, hot shot:

It's not exactly roach water, but it still left an unpleasant taste in my mouth.

Dan is back in town, so I pulled it together and made some food, part of which was not pumpkin bread. Much of which…was, though.

Recipe: Pumpkin Bread. Why this recipe usually sucks: "raw, metallic flavor." This version involves cooking the canned pumpkin with the spices on the stovetop for a few minutes to mellow out the flavor. As far as I can tell, this results in bread that tastes a lot more…squashy. Not bad, necessarily, but squashish for sure.

Real squashful.

Recipe: Skillet Chicken, Broccoli, and Ziti. Why this recipe usually sucks: "flavors are mediocre…bone-dry…oily…overpowering amount of garlic." Wait, I don't think that last bit is even a thing? 

Needs more garlic.

The Super Social Food and Makeup League of Austin caught the Chris Hardwick Funcomfortable tour on Saturday night, but not before really going to town on some ColourPop eyeshadows. I gave Regan a bright pinkish-red and she gave me this glow-in-the-dark number:

See that hole? It's the bottom of the pan. I had never used it before that day. We do not skimp on the M part of SSFMLA.

Hard to tell how glowy it was, but I'm surprised I didn't have an usher asking me to please turn off my eyelids.

Oh, we also covered the F part, by quickly eating everything we could get our hands on at the Searsucker bar.


Hey let's check in and see if it is still summertime oh it is okay.



Note that this did nothing to stave off the scurvy

I stopped ignoring my America's Test Kitchen cookbook for exactly long enough to make this Hungarian Beef Stew. Why this recipe usually sucks, per ATK: contains mushrooms. Well, I can get behind that.

I tried two different placemats, but it still looked like beef stew.

This dish was really good and comforting, especially considering the recent onslaught of fall weather.


It also gave us the energy to get through our first ballet class!

I guess we need to go back to the ice cream.


We will all have scurvy by the time he gets back

Hey guys don't worry, just because Dan is out of town doesn't mean I'm not feeding us properly!

these are from

two different locations

Well, whatever, we've been too busy to worry about food anyway. For one thing, we went to a birthday party and spent a lot of energy hiding from the designated activities.

"Shhh, if they find us they will make us be American Ninja Warriors."

Not just hiding, though! We also lounged.

Happy birthday, Truman! Sorry we like to celebrate things by sitting quietly.

We also dove optimistically into our fall wardrobes.

Still working out some kinks.


It also dissolved the ground a little

When I picked my America's Test Kitchen cookbook for September, I totally forgot that the best part about the recipes in here are the descriptions of what absolute piles of garbage the normal versions of these dishes are. I will be sure to include those from here on out, I find it really enhances ones enjoyment of the superior method.

Dish: Latino Style Chicken and Rice with Bacon and Red Peppers. Why this dish usually sucks: "time consuming." Fine, bad example to start with, especially since this was also very time consuming. See how it is dark in the picture? It is not normally dark when we eat dinner.

But it is not normally this delicious either. 

Dish: Greek and Spinach Feta Pie. Why this dish usually sucks: "nothing more than soggy layers of phyllo with a sparse, bland filling." Yeah. That's the stuff.

Perfect if you like a tiny bit of spinach with your butter.

Dish: Thin and Crispy Oatmeal Cookies. Why this dish usually sucks: "dry and brittle…lack any sign of oatiness." These are really, really good with a cup of tea.

I drank SO MUCH tea this week

Still Feels Like Summer To Me Activities:

Trying to figure out what was going on with the sky!

It seemed like water came out of nowhere? And I think it might have turned some of the plants slightly green. Is this mold? Please advise.


Fake it til you make it (out of the restaurant without fighting)

Hey guys! I managed to not really cook anything over the holiday weekend, because look:

Do you know what that is? That's Tempura Eggs & Pork Belly Waffles with compound butter and maple syrup from the Austin Ale House. So I probably won't really be cooking any more in the future, now that I know how accessible Tempura Eggs & Pork Belly Waffles with compound butter and maple syrup are.

My favorite part of this is the one lonely green leaf on top, like the dish is attempting to hide its shame. My second favorite part is that the server tried to set it down in front of Dan and give me his vegetable-laden plate and I was like "Think again, guy."

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Dan fixed the oven! Just in time for those chilly fall days to set in!

"Rising" means "falling," right?

Labor Day Weekend activities:


Posing (as cows)!

More posing (as television stars)!

More posing (as sweet hugging sisters (instead of wrestling ones)(it was wrestling though))!



A case of the Mondays and/or dysentery

On Monday morning, I 1) woke up, 2) dragged myself to the kitchen, 3) took a large gulp of water from my glass on the counter, 4) noted that it tasted bad 5) probably because of the dead roach in the bottom of it.

I know.

Go ahead and take a minute.

I took several, myself.

My first thought was "Oh, that's what plague tastes like, I always wondered," and my second thought was "please don't set the tone for the entire week please don't set the tone for the entire week please don't set the tone for the entire week."

Obviously it set the tone for the entire week.

So it was with a tremendous amount of defeated indifference that I chose September's theme, which is The Easiest Possible One-Dish Meals from my America's Test Kitchen cookbook. Dan is going to be gone for a chunk of September plus I can still feel the roach guts inside of me, waiting, whispering, plus the world seems very extra bad right now in a "and that's why I can't seem to make myself take a shower" sort of way, so I'm trying to keep the cooking ambition to a minimum, and that's how I landed on this lovely bowl of spaghetti and meatballs:

It was a long and disgusting route.

And extra-Goldfishy broccoli and cheddar soup:

My children were stunned by this development. At least I can still spread joy without actually exuding any, thanks Pepperidge Farms!

Back to School activities:

Somehow convincing our teachers to lie for us.

I love you Ivy's teachers, but no one is buying this.



September goal: resume complaining about August

I gave it a shot, guys.

If it helps, I do really like these three things.

Anyway, some combination of the above items gave me the strength to sprint to the Pinterest-category finish line. (Warning: mild half-assery to follow.)

Category: "Smoothies." Recipe: Blueberry Almond Butter Smoothies.

Sure man, why not

Category: "Snacks." Recipe: Banana Bread Granola Bars.

I generally appreciate granola in all its forms

Category: "Candy." Recipe: Fruity Chocolate Bark.

This refused to harden at room temperature because room temperature is hot because SUMMER IS HORRIBLE, IT'S SEPTEMBER SO I'M ALLOWED TO SAY THAT AGAIN AND IT FEELS SO RIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT

Category: "Pies." Recipe: Yogurt and Berry Tart with a Pecan Crust.

This is a cute way to disappoint family members who look into the fridge and believe that you have made an actual pie

Category: "Poultry." Recipe: Moroccan Nectarine and Plum Chicken Tagine.

I'm starting to notice that my late-summer go-to move is "add some fruit."

Summer Activities:

(Andy Griffith theme plays.)