saving dough

we’ve gotten into the habit of brunching both weekend days and spending some time at wilson’s in order to keep up appearances. but, with the brewers in the playoffs and football season starting, weekends at wilson’s isn’t the pleasant, homey place it is during the week.

with saving money in mind, and because rodney makes a mean scrambled egg, we decided to try to recreate the breakfast burrito (sans chorizo) from mickey’s.

while it might not have been exactly what’s called for, it was still really delicious.

we made enough of the poblano/onion mix for both days and took turns making the potatoes.

i’m embarrassed to write down how much money we saved by dining in, so i won’t do that. perhaps we’ll continue in this fashion, only heading out when it’s appropriate to treat ourselves.

eatin’ good

we’ve been pretty consistent with eating home-cooked meals. rodney has started helping me with prep; apparently, he wasn’t allowed previously to help because he wasn’t as quick as he shoulda been. to which i wonder, how is a person supposed to get better without practice?

anyhoo, we’ve made this cheesy turkey chili mac a couple of times and it’s delicious and super easy and it makes a lot. and, of course, roasted chicken and veggies. and costco pizza crust makes for a quick cheesy olive pizza.

i recently bought a couple more cookbooks (hey! it had been a while) and need to peruse them for new ideas. the slow-cooker season is fast upon us!

taco tuesday!

i gasped when i unwrapped the filets because normally bluegill are about the size of a dollar coin. these were enormous! so big that we decided we could only eat half and would have to make them again tomorrow night.

since we had to run to woodman’s to get tortillas, and tacos are ethnically mexican, we decided to also have margaritas. here’s rodney rolling the ingredients cuz i didn’t want to buy a $20 shaker at the liquor store.

the river

when i was a kid, mom and i would go hang at the river for a week each summer. gramma and grampa had a trailer right around this spot. so we had prime access to fishing and boating and fun.

we used to go out in the boat for hours. i would bring coloring books and beads and dmc floss (to make friendship bracelets) because *just* fishing was no fun. grampa knew all of the good bluegill spots, so we’d feast. and by feast, i mean, it took gramma hours to clean all the fish because they don’t have much meat on ’em and she’d fry them up and everyone would have to be happy with what they got because they’re so good.

tonight, i’m reinstating taco tuesday and we’re going to make fish tacos. fish tacos with bluegill because a friend from wilson’s gave us about a pound of frozen filets a couple weeks ago and i haven’t had bluegill in a million years.

i hope to remember to take pictures.

new roaster

you may remember that the roaster i use at least four times a week broke after a little over a year of use. in order for my pampered chef hookup to give me a free gift for the inconvenience, i had to wait until labor day weekend to order a new one. it arrived a couple nights ago and had its inaugural roasting last night.

brand new stonewear

since the chicken takes a little longer than the veggies, i season it and put it in the oven for about 10 minutes.

avocado oil, stubb’s green seasoning, and third ward from penzey’s spice house

the 10 minutes gives me time to chop up the veggies and to tell jones that he should get out of the kitchen cuz he doesn’t have thumbs.

“you eat with your eyes first!”

i spray the veggies with more avo oil and top with salt, pepper, and third ward and everything goes back in the oven for 35 minutes.


i check the thickest piece for temp and dinner is served!

lookin’ forward

i’m excited for this weekend; probably because we have nothing specific planned. i kinda need a few things at costco but not really, so i may postpone the trip until next weekend. 

a wilson’s friend gifted us about 30 bluegill filets which i am more than excited to turn into fish tacos. we’d like to have him over for them for dinner as a thank-you, but he’s old school, so he may not appreciate the taco aspect of fish tacos. i said i could serve them “deconstructed” (and then i laughed) because it would sorta be like a fish fry except the slaw would be pickled red onions and the dinner roll would be a couple tortillas. we’ll see what he says about it. 

i need to put vacuum to the couch because it’s still covered in cat hair and we’ve had the windows open the last few days and i’ve been unable to breathe through both nostrils at the same time. thankfully, i bought an 8-pack of kleenex from costco the last time i was there.

since merle gets a lot of photo love, i thought i’d share some pics of jones with his turkey toy.

jones playing with “robert”
robert, a.k.a. “bob the gobbler”

forgive me, father

for it’s been six days since my last bike ride.

it had been threatening to rain in the afternoon last thursday and friday, so rodney gave me a ride; saturdays and sundays i don’t get on the bike anymore; monday was torrential and yesterday i think i got lazy.

i really shouldn’t skip so many days tho, because the feeling while biking is wondrous. i almost started crying cuz i was so happy to be biking by the lake (or is it the hormones?), with the august sun on my arm and face. 

after the 3.5″ of rain we got on monday, lake monona is juuust barely almost up to the bike path near the terrace.

in other, unrelated news, my favorite pampered chef roaster broke last night. luckily it was after dinner and after all the chicken grease and oil had been cleaned off.

boo! :(

i’ve only had it for a little over a year, so i’m hoping my contact can get me a replacement (since they’re $55–i got this one on sale for $28).


last week, a neighbor dropped off a bag of sweet corn and i had no idea what to do with it. fast-forward to a slowish day at work where i actually got to catch up on my feedly for basically the first time in four years and i came across this shrimp boil recipe which includes steamed sweet corn.

of course, i had potatoes and frozen shrimp but wasn’t sure what to do instead of the andouille sausage. thankfully, i’d recently splurged on a bunch of frozen food from costco and grabbed a big ol’ box of morningstar farms veggie sausage patties (rodney recently tried some at mickey’s for brunch and loves them). so, i layered the potatoes, sausage patties, and corn; threw in the old bay seasoning, poured water over and turned on the slow cooker.

five hours later, i popped the shrimp in for 10 minutes and served it up with a packet of rice and some melted butter.

it was so amazingly simple and delicious and perfect.

also, i mostly halved the recipe and we still had leftovers.

steak! and salmon

dinner was pretty great; the whole day was, actually. i forewent any attempts to fix the washing machine so we started with brunch at mickey’s then headed to wilson’s for the cubs game—this is usually when i get my crossword puzzle time in—and then home to get ready for a night on the town. we had already discussed that i usually like to walk home after dinners downtown cuz a) i don’t want to pile on another $20 cab ride after a spendy dinner and 2) it’s a good way to walk off said spendy dinner and i like to get a latte and a cookie from mother fool’s.

we got downtown a little early, so stopped into the ‘dise beforehand. the pool table was occupied, so we didn’t get to play. right before 7, we hopped down the block and checked in.

our waitress was really nice, the water guy was always prompt. the escargots weren’t as amazing as i remember. i ordered the caesar salad and rodney got the wedge with roquefort. i got the salmon with asparagus and he got the ribeye on the bone with brussells sprouts. i tried a bite of the meat and it was a little too salty for my taste but wasn’t bad. my salmon was so-so, but i didn’t really expect magic with fish at a steakhouse. in retrospect, the walleye would have probably been a better choice.

i don’t think we got done before 9 and by that time, there was a sprinkle outside, so the walk back was refreshing. except for those wedge shoes that i mentioned. i think i made it one capitol block before i took them off.

needless to say, it was a really great evening and my legs and feet still hurt.

eggplant and pasta

i need to start taking food pics again.

last night we made breaded eggplant and pasta with homemade sauce.

rodney offered to help do anything, and as it’s been a while since i’ve had a sous chef, it was hard for me to delegate, but i managed. he shredded the parm and beat the eggs and dredged the eggplant while i worked on other stuff.

i pulled out the linguine and asked if that was preferred to angel hair, but he said he liked angel hair better. i said i didn’t really care about straight pasta but definitely have an opinion on shaped pasta. he asked what my favorite shape was. i said, “orecchiette.” he said, “LITTLE EARS?! get out of here.”

so, yea. another thing we have in common that seems completely irrelevant until we discover it and then i get goosebumps thinking about it later.