A Random Happenstance

I have come to the conclusion that mundane or normal are not synonymous with my life. I swear some of the weirdest things happen and I just let it happen simply to see what comes at the end. 

I’m out walking my dogs, rather late. I had some things I needed to take care of and didn’t get back home until well after 10 pm. It’s dark but we live in a good area, the biggest thing I have to worry about walking the dogs after dark is the random wild animal that wonders across our path…mostly skunks, that never works out in my favor. 

We’re on our normal walking route when a car randomly pulls up next to us, practically in someones drive way, the man driving yells out “I don’t mean to scare you but what kind of dogs are those?” 

This is actually not to odd of an occurrence when I’m out walking. I’ve had a pretty large number of people who have stopped to ask me what kind of dogs I have. They’ve even stopped their cars and backed up to ask me. Yes, my dogs are pretty awesome, and everyone is always very disappointed to find out they’re just mutts. No fancy breading here, they’re not even fancy mutts, which are all the rage. 

I tell his guy and then he asks if the dogs can have a treat, well sure why not, it’s only something like 10:30 at night, you’re a total stranger and you’re trying to give my dogs treats in the middle of the road. That’s cool, go for it. I’m thinking dogs biscuits that he has in his car because he just really likes dogs. 

Nope. 

The guy gets out of his car and whips out two raw-hide chews, one for each of them. Pretty good sized ones too. The he proceeds to get down on the ground with my dogs and pets them all over. You know, the way a dog person scratches a dog, getting all the good spots. 

Then he starts talking to me telling me all about his dog. My dogs end up laying down in someones drive way to gnaw on their treats. This guy continues on the story of his dog. 

Turns out his dog is living an hour away with a family friend and he goes to visit him every day. He was recently divorced, and had to move into an nearby apartment complex that doesn’t allow pets, that’s not all that odd or crazy but the story gets better. His ex-wife, wife at the time, decided to take a trip to see a friend in another state – roughly three hours away so not too far. She wanted to bring the dog for company, but her reasons for taking the dog were much more dubious than just wanting a travel friend. She gave his dog away. 

Well dog was given to another friend who then gave it to their daughter who then gave it to another friend and eventually the dog ended up in a dog adoption foster program. Where the dog was then moved between foster families because the first one wasn’t taking care of him. After awhile a photo of his dog gets back to him though the friend of the soon-to-be ex-wife’s friend, not realizing that the soon-to-be ex-wife essentially stole his dog. He contacts the adoption agency informs them that it’s his dog and that the dog was taken from him. 

The foster agency tells him that he’ll have to show proof that it’s his dog before they turn him over to him. The guy says that the dog will prove that it’s his dog. The dog foster family said that with out a doubt the dog was his by the way the dog acted. The foster family vouched for him and he got his dog back, but then had no place for him and the dog to live together. Hence why the dog is now saying with the family friend. 

He even had to get out his phone to show me photos of his dog. 

Then he started telling me how he’s been working hard to find a place he can rent that will allow him to have his dog. This dog, which I feel kind of weird saying “dog” more like family member, it’s a New Finland mix. Giganticasaours dog. Even the pet friendly apartment complexes, which are almost all now in my area, have a limit on gigantor dogs.  He tells me that he just needs to get the down payment together and he’s all set and mentions that God’s looking out for him…which then prompts another story. 

The second one was just as crazy as the first dog one. He needed a car because the ex-wife got it in the divorce. He’d been taking the bus and had no steady job. He ends up at one of those pay-here-fiance here used car lots. They get him in good car with low payments and pretty good interest rates – he said every place else he went the interest rates were sky high and he didn’t need a car that bad. Then as he’s signing his paper work to get his car the manager of the lot comes up to him and asks him if he would like to be one of their drivers. 

And then he tells me thanks for letting him pet my dogs and giving them a treat and then drives on his way. 

This kind of random stuff happens to me all the time, it’s not even like it’s weird to me anymore it’s more like it’s common place. And you know why this crazy shit happens to me, because I just let it happen. A good portion of people would have said no to the dog treat, if they said yes to the treat I think the rest of the majortity would have found a polite but quick way to end the conversation and be on their way. Instead I stand there and talk to them for 30 minutes as my dogs chew down on a random strangers raw-hide. 

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Chicken: It’s what for dinner

Today I didn’t want to cook. I had a project I wanted to finish which entailed climbing up on my roof. I had two sections of gutter cover to finish on the front of my house. I did not want to take the time to stop and make dinner or wait until I was finished to try and cook. Husband could have but his ability is pretty limited. 

I took some chicken breasts, still frozen. Tossed them in a baking dish, added three cloves of garlic and 2 small onions quartered, and a few of my herb oil cubes. Covered with tinfoil and baked at 400 degrees for an hour. 

It was awesome. Chicken was juicy and had a great flavor. Added a boxed noodle side and some frozen peas. Dinner prep took a total of 15 minutes…maybe. 

That herb oil cube I found on pinterest was a great idea. Thumbs up to that pin. 

Cats

My cat is an asshole. She truly is. 

At some point today she got something all over her back leg. I thought it was pee. She has been pissing in the house once again. Last year was the start of this marking thing in the house. We’ve had the cats for seven years, never was their an issue until last summer. We went thought a saga trying to figure out what the issue was, thinking it was the neurotic cat that has issues. Turns out it wasn’t. 

This cat walks out side past me, I look at her and think. WTH? Did she piss all over herself? 

I send the Husband out to look at her. I touched it…the leg I thought had pee all over it and sniffed. Nope, didn’t smell like pee but still have no idea what this substance was all over her back leg. 

I picked her up and said “Welp, turdface, you’re going to hate this.” 

And then tossed her in the kiddy pool we have set up for the dogs. 

In the seven years we’ve had her she has NEVER gotten a bath, because she’s a little ass hole and will try to gouge your eyes out when you’re sleeping ten days later. 

She gets out of the pool, and proceeds to “run” away. The running consted of her trotting two or three steps and then shaking her back legs like some annoying blade of grass was tickling her foot. 

I then tried to chase her down with some soap. 

She stopped looked right at and pee’d in my general direction. 

Yeah, this cat tried to pee on me because I threw her in the kiddy pool. I have never ever been pee’d at by a cat, no matter how angry they were. 

I then had the Husband catch her using what I call the “arm pit hold” – it’s the best hold for a cat ever because they can’t bite you, or get you with their front or back claws. All they can do is hang there and be angry. 

I soaped up her back legs then Husband swirled her around in the kiddy pool. Then he thew her a safe distance away from any people or dogs. Oh, she was so angry. I was amazed at the sounds coming out of this cats mouth. She then jumped the fence and ran to the front of the house, complaining the entire way. 

She did let me pick her up with a towel and dry her off, then she wanted in the house where she spent the rest of the evening giving us both death stares and growling at the other cat. 

Ladies weekend Jell-O Shot Recipes

Every few years I make it to a ladies get-to-gether weekend. The hostess holds it every year but as of lately I seem to only be able to  make it every other year. I LOVE to make Jell-O shots. I get to experiment with flavors, pawn them off on everyone else and they are petite bombs of booze. In the past years had piles of them left over. This year, in an attempt to not come home toting bags upon bags of semi-solifited jiggly booze I tried to hold back. This was also the only year I ran out.

Here were the recipes I concocted this year.

Basic Recipe (for the small boxes of Jell-O)

1 package Jell-O
1 Cup boiling water
1 Cup flavored liquor

Grape
1 package Grape Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1 cup UV Grape Vodka
This was the first group of Jell-O shots to vanish, it had just the right about of sweetness to liquor. It also helps that UV is one of the best flavored Vodkas on the market (in my opinion) they have a good flavor and don’t seem to have that harsh Vodka after taste that many of the cheeper flavored Vodkas have. I’m so not fancy enough to be buying any Absolute for Jell-O shots. I’m sure it would be delicious, but I’m a stay-at-home mom on a budget.

Strawberry Margarita
1 package Wild Strawberry Jell-O
1 Cup boiling water
1/4 cup triple sec
Juice of one lime
Approximately 3/4 Cup Clear Tequila – The tequila finished making up the second cup of over all liquid
This was the third most popular Jell-O shot. It did vanish the second quickest but I think it was more because of the appealing pretty pink color housing a rather sinister Jell-O shot. Enough of these and it would knock you on your ass. I used 1800, they were smooth but pungent. Not a Jell-O shot for those that don’t like tequila. Personally I am a fan of tequila so I enjoyed them and will be making them again. I also threw in some zest of lime to be fancy.

Margarita
1 package Margarita Jell-O – Yes! a Margarita flavor Jell-O. I love this Jell-O flavor for this reason. I LOVE Margarita’s, I saw this limited edition Jell-O and stocked up. Sadly I haven’t seen it on the shevles since and this was my last package)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup clear tequila
Yes, you can taste the tequila. Yes, it’s tart, and yes, it will make your tongue go numb. They are strong, and once again not for someone who doesn’t care of tequila. Now, if you are a fan of tequila and Margaritas then this is a Jell-O shot for you. Sadly I think the Jell-O mix is hard to find.

Mellon
1 package Mellon Fusion Jell-O
1 Cup Boiling water
1 Cup Madori Mello liquor
This was the second favorite Jell-O shot of the get-to-gether. It however lasted almost as long as the Margarita Jell-O shots, I think because I had them in the same freezer bag the two tended to blend together, and people were shying away from the Margarita Jell-O shots. The shots looked pretty, had a nice sweetness with out an over powering lingering liquor taste. However, I think the melon fusion flavor of Jell-O is another one of those “seasonal” or “Test market” Jell-O.

I also tried making pudding shots – on request – which didn’t turn out as they should have. I learned that pudding shots need much less liquor in the recipe. They only half set up, even after being in the freezer, however they were a big hit even being a bit liquid-y. So here’s the parts I used not the actual recipe because I need to figure out the correct amounts of each.
Instant Vanilla pudding mix
Milk
Cool-whip
Kahlua
Vanilla Vodka

They ended up having a similar taste to a Kahlua White Russian.

Loaded Red Skin Potato Salad

1 bag red skin potatoes 
1 package (1lb) bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 2 cup package shredded yellow cheese (cheddar, Colby Jack…etc)
1 16 oz tub sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise or mayonaise substitute
1 medium onion, chopped
Fresh chives (one package if buying them in the grocery store)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bake red skin potatoes in the oven at 400 degrees until just tender, cut up potatoes into large bowl. If not already cooked, cook the bacon in the oven on a separate cooking sheet as the potatoes cook. They take about the same time. 
Add all other ingredients, stir until well incorporated adding sour cream or mayonnaise to reach desired consistency. 
Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Variations: 
Substitute onion for 3 whole bunches green onions using the green part as well. 
Use pre-made real bacon bits/crumbles in place of cooking bacon. 

 

Stupidly Easy Pork Sandwiches

This is one of my go-to recipes when cooking for any large group of people. It does take a bit of time but not any time that one needs to actually be “cooking.” It does require a two-step cooking process.

Pork roast – trimmed. (I prefer to use pork loin, figuring about 1/2 lb per person)
1 can dark cola (Dr. Pepper, Root Beer, Pepsi, Coke, RC cola – Any will work, each will add it’s own hint of flavor to the meat)
1 large onion quartered
pepper

In a large slow cooker place your pork roast fat side up and sprinkle pepper on the pork.
Place quartered onions in the crock and poor one 12 can of cola over the pork.

Cover and cook on low until fully cooked in a slow cooker – about 6-8 hours depending on size of roast.

*Very important step* 
Remember to turn off the pork and place it in the refrigerator for the night. Just go ahead and take the whole crock dish out. This happens to be the step I tend to forget because well…when I’m making this it’s because I’m busy doing other things such as pretending that I’m back in my 20’s of the old college days where assorted libations and Jello shots are free flowing.

The next day remove the crock from the fridge and start step-two.

Cooked pork roast
1 jar of thick BBQ sauce – Sweet Baby Ray’s is my choice because it’s one of the thicker sauces on the market. You could also make your own sauce…but this meant to be stupidly easy.

Discard the cooking liquid and onions, pull apart pork removing and discarding as much fat as possible from the meat.
Place meat back in the slow cooker, add BBQ sauce, stir. Place on low heat until warmed through. Serve on buns.

 

Cilantro Honey Chili marinade

Also know as “The super secret chicken”

This marinade is cilantro heavy, as in “Woha hello cilantro” but it keeps the chicken juicy and gives it a nice summer flavor, the chili sauce adds just a hint of pow.

Recipe:
Chicken
3 cloves of garlic
Fresh Cilantro – about two good sized handfuls of the leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Sriracha
Juice of one lime
Salt and Pepper to taste

Take cloves of garlic and mince in a food processor. If a food processor is not available then mince the garlic by hand.

Add the cilantro to the food processor and mince, with the food processor running start to add the liquid ingredients. Starting with the oil, then honey, then Sriracha. Finishing off by adding the juice of one lime.

Once fully blended together add salt and pepper to taste. I like just a dash of sea or Kosher salt added. It’s also a good time to adjust the sweetness or heat to your liking. It is good to note that during marinade and cooking much of the heat from the Sriracha is lost.

I found I needed to stop at intervals to make sure the cilantro was getting equally chopped up.

Marinade chicken for at least one hour before cooking, up to 24 hours.

The Caterpillar

It died.

I woke up to find nothing in the jar.

Naturally, since it was eating when I went to bed the night before I thought it had planned a great escape and was adventuring around the kitchen. If it made it in to the kitchen it was already dead, there was no way that the cats would allow some slow wiggly thing to live.

At breakfast Little Miss was asking to see the caterpillar but at that time I still thought it was on it’s exodus from it’s home in a jar. Half way through breakfast as I was getting yelled at to add parsley and it was dinner time for the caterpillar I noticed it laying in the bottom of the jar on it’s side.

Welp. I can see it’s escape plans didn’t go so well.

I then had to deftly steer Little Misses interest away from the caterpillar, which she was reaching for the jar staying that she “Want to see it, want to see caterpillar.” Really, a dead caterpillar can be rather traumatic for a two-year-old. I had no desire to try and explain to a distraught wee one about death and that I more than likely killed the caterpillar.

Later that night, caterpillar, it’s dinner and a bag of scraps found their way to the compost pile…enjoy your new life caterpillar…as food for the worms.

Enchiladas – Sans Meat

I was given a similar recipe a few years ago. I have since improved upon the basic rice enchilada to make something that now the Husband requests for meals. 

The filling recipe makes at least two full 9×13 pans of enchiladas. I typically make one pan to eat and freeze the other pan for an easy meal. Short on freezer space? It works great as topping for tortilla chips or taco filling for quick lunches, you can also freeze just the filling in a ziplock freezer bag if not planing on consuming it right away. 

Meatless Enchiladas

1 “Family Size” can of Enchilada sauce or 2 15 oz cans. (one can for each pan) 

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 can (15 oz) black beans  – drained and rinsed 

1 can (15 oz) corn – drained

1-2 chopped onions

1 bag shredded cheese – cheddar, Colby-Jack etc. 

Soft taco shells

2 tbls chili powder

1 tbls cumin 

(or for the lazy 1 packet of pre-mixed taco space) 

Salt & Pepper to taste

9×13 casserole dish

1) Mix all rice, corn, beans, spices in a large bowl

2) place enchilada sauce on bottom of pan, just enough to slightly cover bottom of casserole dish

3) fill the shells with the filling mixture, roll up and place seem side down in the casserole dish

4) Cover with Enchilada sauce, then cover with cheese

5) Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until cheese is melty and enchiladas are heated through

Serve with sour cream, salsa, avocado, fresh onions, tomatoes. 

The beauty of this recipe is that you can throw pretty much anything you want in the filling mixture. I’ve added Rotél Tomatoes, cheese, fresh peppers, just be aware the more you add the more filling you’ll end up with. 

Pickles and Caterpillars

I pickled a peck of pickling peppers. 

Well….it was more like a 1/2 bushel, but that doesn’t sound as interesting.

Image

The finial haul of pickles turned out 7 pints of dill slices, 7 pints of bread and butter, and 5 quarts of dill spears. Pickles galore, and even this this pile of pickles Husband has requested another batch of bread and butter pickles. I honestly don’t think we’ll need them but he seems to think we will. I am not a fan of bread in butter pickles (you can read that as I think they are nasty) and I don’t foresee the Husband eating jars of pickles just for the fun of it. 

But I find it fun so I’ll be whipping up another batch. 

As picking was going strong I found that my dill had a bit of a stowaway. A caterpillar, who almost got turned into a pickled dill caterpillar. I would have been upset finding them floating in my pickles when I get to crack them open in about a month. 

This caterpillar now has a new place of residence, called a glass quart jar on my kitchen table. Doing their thing eating and pooping, and pooping, and pooping…and pooping a bit more. I hope I can keep this thing alive until it makes a butterfly and Little Miss will enjoy the butterfly process. She lobe, lobe, LOBE’s butterflies (lobe = love). 

When we went to my mom’s house for dinner – as we do every Sunday – I told her we were raising a butterfly. She said to me “Were are you doing that?” 

In a glass jar, on my kitchen table.

Mom: “oh, that’s kinda weird.” 

Where else would you raise a butterfly? It made me think that she thought raising a butterfly was like sending a monthly sponsor donation for some injured animal. Like the ASPCA commercials. 

This poor caterpillar might never make it to be the butterfly it was truly meant to be <insert some super sad celebrity and photos of dead caterpillars> But you…you can help now, by sponsoring your own butterfly. Send money now and we’ll send you photos of your very own butterfly, with your donation you can help this caterpillar make to a butterfly by avoiding things like natural predators, pesticides and squishing by people who just don’t like bugs. So send money now. 

Now, that’s strange.