Texas Tater Tot Casserole

3 Jun

The last supper… but not really. I made my free range chicken and a delectable dish of spaghetti, and now it was time for my last post for my free-range farming senior project. I was researching things to make, and wasn’t coming up with anything that sparked my interest. Then it hit me like a pile of bricks. I had a flash back to a summer long ago when I lived in Texas. I was at my friend’s house and her mom made us a tater tot casserole. It was the best combustion of food that I have ever experienced! It’s pretty much a cheeseburger and tater tots all smooshed together into one volcano of goodness. I immediately went to the store to get all my ingredients.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 lb free-range ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup
1/2 soup can of water
1/2 cup chopped onion
Tater Tots
shredded cheddar cheese
mixed salt and pepper to taste

Here’s how you make it work:

  • Brown ground beef in skillet; add onions.

  • Cook until done; drain.

  • Put in casserole dish; add hot soup and water.

My helper: Nick

  • Put Tater Tots on top.
  • Bake in oven according to Tater Tot package directions.

  • When done, put cheese on top and add a bit of mixed salt. (If you don’t have mixed, regular will do.)

  • Place back in oven until cheese melts.

And that’s it! It’s a really simple recipe that everyone will LOVE! I brought it to the 3rd grade class I was teaching and they loved it! Here’s a picture of them with a free-range farm model we made.

Surprise Spaghetti!

1 Jun

It’s Mothers Day!… or it was mother day. My family didn’t do too much during the day to celebrate my mother’s awesomeness, but my sister and I did plan to make her a nice dinner. We decided to make spaghetti, salad, and some bread. We had to make all that, clean the kitchen, and tend to the puppy corral brawling amongst us.

First was the salad. I don’t have a real recipe for this one. My family is pretty plain jane when it comes to salads. We cracked open a bag of spinach mixed greens and cleaned ’em off.

Then we dried the leaves and that was that! Threw some shredded cheese and some random dressings that we found in the fridge on the table and ka-bam! Done.

Next I made the sauce. When we lived in Texas my dad was obsessed with this particular brand of sauce. Lawry’s.

They only sell it there, so when we moved away, needless to say, there was mass devastation. But luckily, my dad travels quite a bit so whenever he goes to Texas, he makes sure to stock up. Since it was a special occasion, we thought it was appropriate to make the last bag. It’s fairly easy to make. All you have to do is follow the directions on the back of the package.

Feeling a tad ambitious, my sister and I decided to add some free-range meat to the sauce. Awesome sauce + delicious natural meat= heaven.

Then came the actual pasta noodles. Again, really easy to make. Boil water, put pasta in, and set the timer to whatever depending on what the particular box says.

At this point, Marley decided to take a piss on the floor. I was busy, so I told Morgan to clean it up 🙂

Lastly, the bread. Again– no recipe. Wrapped that bread in foil, and stuck it in the oven till it smelled done.

Set the table and task complete!

Let’s eat!

A Sick Treat

31 May

“The Cold.” No, not the weather/ temperature kind of cold, the sickliness of “the cold.” You know what I mean. It doesn’t have a fancy name like Swine, Strep, or Phenomena. It’s just “the cold.” Sore throat, headaches, stuffy nose, and the overall crappy feeling. I had been sick for a week and had only been able to eat crackers, gatorade, and other things sickly people eat. I needed something delicious. Anything. Now was the time for some real food. I wanted all my favorites; Free Range Grilled Chicken, sautéed squash, and mac & cheese.

Trying to make everything done at one time, I prepared the Mac & Cheese first. It’s super easy to make and delicious!

Here’s what you’ll need:

3 tablespoons butter
2 cups dry macaroni
4 cups milk
1 block sharp cheddar cheese, grated (or about 4 cups)
salt and pepper

.
Here’s how you make it work:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray  a large dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Put butter into the dish and set it in the oven as it preheats.
  • When the butter is melted, take the dish out and add macaroni. Stir it up until the macaroni is coated.
  • Add the milk, cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir and make sure ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Bake at 400 for 45 minutes. Stir at least once while it’s baking.

Once that was all squared away, it was time to start the chicken.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 pack of Free Range/ Organic Chicken

olive oil

salt and pepper 

Here’s how to make it work:

  • First, you’ll need to wash the chicken well. Dry with a paper towel.
  • Measure out a cap-full of olive oil and spread over the chicken breast.
  • Lather/ massage the oil onto both sides of the chicken specimen.
  • Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper onto each piece of chiken and continue to work it in.
  • Place on a skillet pan at medium heat.
  • Cook until all the pink meat is gone.
  • Add spices to taste.

Once you’ve got the hang of that, you can go ahead and start sauteing the greens.

All you need is some green and yellow squash. It’s rather simple. Just cut them up into small circles, throw them on a skillet at medium heat, add a dash of olive oil, and cook until floppy.

Now originally, I wanted to put some bacon in the pasta. But by the time I go to it, it was almost done. So, trying to incorporate it’s deliciousness, I made the executive decision to put it in the squash! And boy oh boy, that is some gooooood eatin’!

Finally, it was all done. It took me a good 2 hours, but I finally finished. And it was well worth it! A perfect sick treat. Give it a try at home!

Marley & The Puppy Corral

9 May

My family is so weird. We’ve had some many dogs over the past 17 years. 13 to be exact. Some of them have gone on to heaven, some hell, some of them we’ve had to give away due to our family having to relocate, and some just didn’t work out. Lets see if I can name them in order:

Hannah (Golden Retriever)

Jake (Akita)

Hallie (Neapolitan Mastiff) We had to give her away because she wasn’t too fond of me.

Candy & Sammy (2 annoying ass corgis that did not last very long. Candy was my sister’s obviously.)

Bailey (Cock-a-poo)

Bear (Chocolate Lab)

Frisco (English Mastiff)

Nick (English Mastiff)

Dallas (English Mastiff)

Lucy (CRAZY German Shepard)

Shellie (Golden Doodle)

Marley (Mini Poodle. Purely retarded.)

That’s quite a list if you ask me. We’ve still got Shellie, Marley, Nick, and our newest edition Sir Bob Farticius! It’s nothing short of a puppy corral at my house. If you ask me, Marley (the tard) is the source of all the problems. She is VICIOUS! Every time another one of the other dogs walks into the kitchen, she launches at their neck and tries to rip our their fur. This is unsuccessful most of the time because she is significantly smaller than the others. Here’s what she looks like:

As you can see, she’s clearly psychotic. Half the time, she doesn’t even recognize her name. Granted, she was from a puppy mill and she was hit by a car. Regardless, my weird family and other dogs seem to accept her… kind of. I have to admit, I sometimes try to elicit characteristics of her inner tard. It makes my sister FURIOUS, but when she’s not home, I give Marley a serious, badass mo-hawk every now and then. It’s one of the funniest things to see her jostle her self around sporting that look. There are a few things that just make her tick. for instance, the ice machine in the refrigerator. One that baby gets started, Marley winds around, spinning in circles, until she passes out. She also has asthma. But it only seems to surface when she get’s excited. We’ve all decided that there’s no cure. She also likes to hump our other dog Nick. She’s quite the horn ball. The only problem is that 1, she is a girl, and 2, she weighs 20 pounds and Nick weighs about 200…. Improbable.

It feels like our family has had her FOREVER, but unfortunately, it’s only been about 3 years. And even more unfortunately, they live to be about 20… Good thing I’m off to college!

This is Shellie:

She’s in my top three favorite. Technically, she’s my dog. We got her on my 15th birthday. She’s kind of bi-polar. Out in public, she’s fantastic. I can walk her without a leash, take her on our boat, and her and I can adventure together when I’m on the hunt for new things to photograph. The problem is, when she enters our kitchen, and Marley lets out a single yelp, Shellie turns into Satan. She’ll rant allll around the kitchen. Wackin’ things off the counters, jumpin’ up on people and punchin’ them in the gut at warp speed, and pretty much becoming a whirlpool tornado of destruction. Get her out of the kitchen, and she is calm, cool, and collected. Then she’ll nicely rest her paws on your belly and ask to be gently petted. THEN, once she gets what she wants, she’ll let out a big fart, jump down, and go about her business. But still, much better than Marley….

This is Nicholas:

Here he’s in his youth I might add. Now, he just chills on his doggie bed, eats, takes people pain meds, and poops. Emphasis on the poop. He’s by far been the best dog we’ve ever had. Sad thing is, he’s getting old. He just turned 8! To make sure his departure is at least a little bit easier on our family, my dad already got his replacement. Though there will never be a dog as great as Nick.

This is Bob:

Big Nick & Little Bob

I prefer to call him Sir Bob Farticus. When he first got him, he was a precious little ball of fur. Now, he’s a pissing tornado of urine. He probably pees 70 times a day, and only about 30 of those times does he actually make it outside. He’s a great dog, but I just wish he had a smaller bladder.

And that’s all on em! Welcome to my life….

Easters, Summers, Frissmas, & Potato Casserole

2 May

Easter morning, 6:30am “ALEXAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!! Get the heck outta bed! We gon be late for church!!”

I don’t know how, or who got me outta bed that morning because I was a walking zombie robot machine. My dad said we’d be going to a sunrise outdoor service, SO of course, I dressed accordingly. Only to find as I walked down the stairs, the rest of my family decked out in their Catholic church get-ups. Trying not to get pissed (mind I remind you that it is a mere 7am at this point,) I did my best to pull myself together in appropriate church gear.

We didn’t think the service would be too packed (it was 7:15am for gosh sakes.) Boy were we wrong! Somehow, we got a seat. The mass was really great which helped the time pass by quickly. Right when we got home, I put on some shorts and a t-shirt, got into my bed, and proceeded to fall back asleep to the glorious sounds of Bear Grylls on Man vs Wild.

I woke up at around 1, took a shower, and made my way over to my boyfriend, Christian’s, house. Now, let me paint this picture for you. There are sooooo many people in their family. Gingers, babies, tards, cholos, asians, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, kids, the whole 9 yards, (minus the asians.)

Quote of the day: “Me favorite holiday iiisss Easters, summers, aaaaaand frissmas,” (Cara Verlie.)

Mrs. Verlie, Ramona The Best, had the most delectable meal already prepared! Fresh salad, ham, and the best potato casserole I’ve ever had. Becoming more and more obsessed with every bite, I had to ask for the recipe.

So here I give to you, the best Potato Casserole in the entire universal sphere of life.

Recipe by: Cooks.com

You’ll need:
2 lbs. frozen Ore Ida hash browns (2 bags)
3/4 c. melted butter
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 pt. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
10 oz. (2 c.) grated cheese ( the recipe calls for Cracker Barrel mild, but you can use whatever you want. I’m sure all cheeses will taste delicious.)
2 c. crushed corn flakes
..
How to make it happen:
  • Defrost hash browns.

We lacked a decent size frying pan, so we had to defrost in cycles. 2 pans for 1 bag... (twice)

  • In a large bowl combine the potatoes and the 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick).
  • Add salt, pepper, onion, soup, sour cream and cheese. Mix that s%!+ up!

  • Pour it into a buttered, 3 or 4 quart dish.
  • Mix remaining butter, (1/2 a stick) with corn flakes and sprinkle over top. The more flakes and cheese, the better!

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
You can eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I would! I can’t even describe to you how delicious this is. Try it for yourself! Make sure to share some with your animal mammals 🙂

They take pills regularly- Ode to Philadelphia

28 Apr

When I lived in New Jersey, it was only a quick train ride into the beauteous city of brotherly love. My friends and I would adventure there on weekends and explore into places unknown. Sometimes, getting chased down the street by a homeless man whispering sounds of Slytherin. Sometimes finding ourselves becoming sucked into a jew parade. And other times, merely people watching from the balconies of South Street, (one of my favorite spots.)

Since then, I’ve moved on to North Carolina (and loving it.) Fact is, I still have a warm spot in my cold heart for that peculiar city. Recently in my English class, my teacher assigned us to write a poem personifying a specific place. Trying to emulate Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago,” I decided that Philly would be a great subject for my poem.

There was no way to really logically craft this poem. I literally let the ridiculous thoughts in my mind flow onto the paper, and it somehow shaped itself into a majestical masterpiece. So here it is:

Philuhdelfeeuh

He takes pills regularly
Amitril, Clopixol, Valium, Xanax, Zoloft
Morphine, Fentanyl, Codeine, Oxycodone,
Ritalin, Adderall, Dexedrine
Abilify, Zyprexa
Doxycycline
no water

smokes two cigs—
two packs

She grabs her purse—
slaps mom and kisses her goodbye
runs out the door

He forgot the cigs—
S%!+

She stripes the clouds with her fingertips
and tap dances on mother earth with her toes

No where to go—
Ben Franklin!

No where to go—
Girls Girls Girls!

He’s at the meeting
AA
Name on the tag—
BiTransSexual Tiger

She’s in a wheelchair
NO, there she goes—
running a marathon—
kicking the handicapped in the gutts
INVINCIBLE!

crash.

Animals are Chirping
sounds wet-willy His ears
Microwave Rings
aromas plug Her nose
he smells Waffles!
she loves Waffles!
he needs a Drink
oh wait—
she’s already drunk

But it’s okay—
They take pills regularly.

UNCWonderful

15 Apr

Senior year is all about one thing: choosing where you’re going to college. And getting through high school (so two things.) Being weird and ambitious, I decided to apply to about 500 schools. Okay, maybe actually only like, 10ish. Among my top choices of the schools I was accepted to were UNCWilmington, Appalachian State, East Carolina, Florida State, University of Hawai’i: Manoa, and a scholarship to Hawai’i Pacific University. At first, I was all about UNCW. But once I was accepted to Hawai’i, my focus shifted a bit. After spending months trying to convince my parents that Hawai’i was the place for me, they still weren’t having it. After a bit of research on my moms behalf (thanks Monica) we found that I could potentially attend UHawai’i as an exchange student and still pay in-state tuition (ballin!)

SO, needless to say, I’m attending UNCW in the fall. And I am pumped beyond belief! I got a kickass roommate, a kickass dorm, and HELLOOOO, the kicka$$ beach just down the street!

Being a photography freak, I always bring my cameras with me everywhere I go. Sometimes I go the whole 9-yards and carry around my fancy pantsy camera case, sometimes I just stick em in my purse, but most times, they just chill in my car. A few weekends ago, my dad and I made the 4 hour drive to attend the UNCW Accepted Students day festival thing as well as to meet my new roommate and her family. Every time I go to Wilmington, I always make the effort to set aside a day where I can just explore and take pictures. It’s almost like therapy for me. Helps me clear my mind, and allows me to focus on something that I love.

Here are some shots from a few weekends ago. Overall, it was an awesome trip a great preview of what is to come!

My dads a business guy. He has 3 children: Me, Morgue (see Aloha! tab), and his blackberry.

I took this just as the sun was setting. Shadows seems to be a re-occouring theme throughout my photos. I think they're fascinating.

I was walking down the boardwalk with my dad, and spotted this homeless man absorbing the view. The culmination of his flowing hair and attentive manner to the landscape before him urged me to snap a shot (creepily.)

I randomly found about 500 trash cans.

I love colors! Especially monochromatic schemes. Also, it seems that my shadow fetish is becoming a bit more prominent....

Half opened, or half closed....

I think this may be one of my favorite photos I've ever taken. It's one of those where I feel like I could just look at it for a long ass time. Maybe its the contrasting direction of lines? Who knows...

King of all Quiches

15 Apr

I go through these strange “food phases.” In ninth grade, it was waffles. Tenth grade was all about the refried beans. In eleventh grade, I think I had some form of eggs (poached, scrambled, fried, an omelet) at least once a day. And this year, (as all my friends, family, and 90% of the people at my school know) I’m obsessed with hummus. Anyways, so I’m taking this “Cooking at Home” elective at school. And so far, it’s awesome! When I heard my teacher (Ms. Ruble) say we were making an egg recipe, memories of cooking in my junior year fled into my mind.

Now, I’ll give y’all the inside scoop. But I’m warnin’ ya, with this one. If you cook it for ANYONE you better, hide yo kids, hide yo wife, and hide yo husband, cuz erybody gonna be creepin in yo house wantin some more of this quiche! This is HIGHLY addictive. One piece just does not do the trick! Now, finally, I introduce to you… THE KING OF ALL QUICHES!

Alrighty tighty, first, one must construct the decadent crust.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup cold shortening
  • 1/2 cup cold butter (chopped)
  • 4-5 tablespoons ice cold water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon heavy cream for egg wash

Here’s how you make the magic happen:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Combine the flour and salt together in a food processor.
  • Then add shortening and pulse for 10 seconds or until the final mixture has the consistency of coarse sand.
  • Add in chunks of butter and pulse 10 times or until the pieces of butter are about the size of small peas.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of water and pulse on low setting. If the dough isn’t stickin’, toss in another tablespoon of water.
  • Then take the dough and form it into a lump, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll the lump out between two sheets of parchment paper using a tincy bit of flour until it’s about 2 inches larger than the pie plate on all sides.
  • Then GENTLY/ QUICKLY/ CAREFULLY/ RAPIDLY transfer the dough onto the pie plate. You can tuck the dough hanging over the pie plate onto itself and make it look all nice and purty.
  • Blind bake the crust by covering it with parchment paper, filling it with pinto beans. (Remove after 5 minutes)
  • Stick that baby in the oven! (20 minutes)

The beauteous quiche crust

After the crust is finished. It’s time to start the filling! To put it simply; it’s an egg extravaganza.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 ounces Italian cheese blend, grated
  • 4 cups mixed greens

Here’s how you make it work:

  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Wash the parsley.
Washing the greens
  • Chop the parsley finely.

Choppin

  • Chop 2 onions.

Onions, accompanied by a fancy pantsy cutting knife

  • After chopped, add them and a 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to cook, stirring occasionally, until soft for 5-7 minutes. Then stir in the parsley.
  • Whisk the eggs, and put some back into it!

11th grade obsession returns!

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in onion mixture and the cheese.
  • Throw it all together and stick it in the crust.

Umm... YUMMM!!!!!!!

  •  Stick her in the oven and chillax while your creation bakes for 15-20 minutes.

Some trick from school puttin my quiche in the oven

Let it cool down for a few minutes after it’s done baking. Take my advice, and let it cool! You won’t be able to savor its deliciousness if your taste buds are burnt.

And another trick from school eatin my quiche!

Hello world!

11 Jul

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