Category Archives: For Those About to Rock

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like The Middle of February

Seriously, 11 degrees below zero in the middle of December?  Two major snowstorms? Is the universe trying to stop Plaid Christmas?!  Because nothing stops Plaid Christmas. Nothing!

All right, well, the weather did move the first Plaid Christmas back by a week. But I’ll give you the recipes now because now next week I’m doing two Plaid Christmases (Christmasi??) in two days. So not likely going to feel like recipe writing. And thanks to The Block

we did an impromptu practice Plaid Christmas last night when the original got pushed back.

However, moving Plaid Christmas One closer to Plaid Christmas Two allowed me to go to a cookie exchange yesterday.

Twas a bittersweet cookie exchange though to honor our dear friends, the Harrisons, who are moving back to Australia. The Block will be all the less kind, funny and joyful without them. *stupid computer got something in my eyes again*

For the exchange I made these Brown Butter Sugar Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

We tried multiple toppings and all agreed sanding sugar was a better topping than sprinkles. But everyone loved them, even Drummer Boy, who is not a big cookie eater.

However, those cookies were incorrectly attributed by me on Instagram to What’s Gaby Cooking. So to make up for it, I made her Molasses Cookies. Couldn’t be easier.  Used a scant two tablespoon cookie scoop and cooked 2 minutes longer than the recipe called for.

As a gift for the hostess and a snack for Plaid Christmas (one cannot exist on Chex Mix alone. JK – yes you can) I made these Union Square Cafe Nuts via Smitten Kitchen.  Only thing I did different is reduced the cayenne pepper a little. Glad I did, they still have heat at the end, but not overwhelming.

On to the meal. Totally pulled a Rachel from Friends – a layer of jelly, a layer of ground beef – when making GF meatballs and marinara sauce simultaneously.  I started the meatballs, paused probably to tell the cat to get off the table, then looked up a the meatball recipe and continued. That is, until I got to the “add a whole can of tomatoes”. That seemed wrong. Yep, was following the marinara recipe in the middle of the meatball recipe.

I soldiered on though, and what a happy accident indeed. So I present to you:

Accidental Gluten Free Meatballs

WHAT YOU NEED
1 lb. ground beef
1/3 heaping cup of gluten free panko crumbs
scant 1/4 cup of milk (I actually used a little less)
1/2 TBSP dried parsley
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3 TBSP finely minced onion
1 egg
2 TBSP olive oil

WHAT YOU DO
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients except olive oil in a large bowl with your hands until fully incorporated. Shape in to balls with about 2-3 tablespoons of meat per meatball. Heat oil in a skillet and add meatballs. Brown, turning very gently, until browned all over.  Place meatballs on a greased baking pan and cook until done, about 15-20 minutes. These can be chilled and reheated in the sauce.

Plaid Christmas will include Skinnytaste’s Crockpot Bolognese Sauce and Two Peas and Their Pod’s Slow Cooker Marinara.  That way we take care of the meat eaters, the vegetarians, the gluten free crowd and the butter noodles crowd. Trying a new GF pasta, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Will also be making the world’s easiest Rosemary Roast Salmon that I’ve talked about before. The only thing I do differently is mix olive oil with dijon mustard and pinch of chopped rosemary and rub it over the salmon before putting the lemons on. It’s a hit every time and can be prepped ahead and kept in the fridge.  Thanks to The Block for taking care of yesterday’s salmon with gusto

all the while not being allowed in the front room or dining room because I had already set the tables before Plaid Christmas was moved. So it was a cozy practice Plaid Christmas.

In between all these festivities, we had one of the best School of Rock shows to date. Drummer Boy, Guitar Boy and friend and neighbor Singer Girl were all in the Motown band together and they killed it.

See Kevin’s Facebook account for some video footage if you are interested. Or I can send you some, I only have like 40GB of video though #proud parent.

I would be remiss in all my talk about Plaid Christmas – which, by the way, I’ve been planning for 4 years because that’s the McNamara Christmas rotation – if I did not link to one of the funniest annual features on the internet.  The 2016 Hater’s Guide to The Williams-Sonoma Catalog.  Even though it is a little close to home this year (ok I know he’s making fun of me), it still is one of my favorite reads. Not safe for delicate eyes though.

May Santa bring you all a Murder Vacuum.   Have a great holiday everyone.

 

A Very Tardy End of Summer Post – In Poetic Verse

Editor’s Note: It’s better if you sing it to the tune of Gilligan’s Island.

We went on vacation to Michigan City
With a quick stop in Grand Beach
We drove home for bit, 12 hours to be exact,
Then South Bend we did reach
Then South Bend we did reach.

We came back home and went to camp
Practiced instruments for a singing señora
Because with sBork now joining the band
We rocked out in Aurora
We rocked out in Aurora.

Then me and mBork made a feast
for the post-show rock and roll crowd
With so many families here at once,
The children were really loud,
The children were really loud.

And next thing you know the Second Set
Was turning ten years old,
With Drummer Boy
and Miss M too
the Big C and his smile
A movie star
Baby D and a Nemo hood
Here on Lucky Rhino!

Vacation

Sweet house we rented:

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Sweet kids we took:

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Sweet drumsticks I made:

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I made these Honey Teriyaki Drumsticks from Skinnytaste.  Doubled the recipe, didn’t use sesame seeds (Drummer Boy has a bad reaction – and you never know when he might actually enjoy the food I cook!). These got thumbs up all around from those who do eat food.  Served with white rice with extra sauce spooned over.  Yum!

Since it was vacation, it begged for dessert. Begged, wouldn’t shut up about it. So if you are going to do dessert, go big, go YUGE, go Pioneer Woman’s Easy Peach Dumplings.  Turn this

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Into this:

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You feel like a horrible person while making these.  So much butter! Soda! Processed dough! Trust me, you get over it when they are done and topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. FYI – I used one of the tiny cans of Sprite you can buy at Target.  6 oz. maybe, but not a regular size one.

Unfortunately we had to go to South Bend for Kevin’s dad’s memorial service. There are lots of places on the internet to read about how great Bill Guilfoile was, but here is one from Kevin.

Even though the circumstances were sad, the cousins enjoyed getting together.  It’s probably been about 4 years since we’ve all been in one place.  So logically, we played a card game (Mafia) where people had to gang up on each other and accuse each other of crimes.  Natch.

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The Big Show

The boys and sBork did a great show for School of Rock. They represented the Austin City Limits festival with B-52s, Weezer and Billy Idol.

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DSC_0850So we has a Aprés Rock Show get together for those who came to the show.  With an Asian themed dinner party.  Just like all the hep bands do.

I made this Asian Chopped Salad also from Skinnytaste.  It’s a great salad, colorful and crunchy.

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And mBork made these Dragon Noodles which were ah.maze.ing.

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She also made Asian Marinated flank steak and I did a basic grilled chicken with an lightly spiced brine.

Grilled Chicken with Asian Brine
Heat 8 cups water with 8 TBSP salt and 4 TBSP sugar, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 3 splashes of low sodium soy sauce.  Heat only until salt and sugar dissolved. Once cool, place chicken parts (we used boneless breasts) in bag or covered bowl with brine to cover and put back in the refrigerator. Boneless – brine up to 6 hours before, bone-in could probably stay in longer.  Take out, dry off and grill as you normally would. Discard the brine.

The Big 1-0

The Second Set are all turning 10 within sixteen days in August/September so we had the family party.

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I made Olympic themed goody boxes with my Avery template that I’m always going on about. Filled them with Cheetos, pretzels, red/white/blue Hershey’s kisses – you know, the snacks of champions.

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I was in charge of salads so I made a Zippy Orzo Summer Salad from Pinch of Yum.  Spinach, fresh corn, garlic, cucumbers.  A bowl of summer.  The only thing I did differently was I did not add chicken and I sautéed the baby spinach with the corn and garlic.

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Also made this Nancy’s Chopped Salad from Smitten Kitchen. Didn’t use chickpeas because although I like them pureed (hummus) or fried crunchy (Vistro restaurant in Hinsdale, check it out), I don’t like them whole.  Go figure.

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And then we had a majority of the Expensive People* over for Pizza Night (*so named because the first time we went out over 16 years ago, it got a leeeeetle out of hand food and drink-wise at the restaurant).

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And now it’s back to school.

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Back to the daily grind, the piles of homework, soccer practice and certainly cut down on the parties. Well, until the next Pizza Night!

Have a great week everyone!

 

A Very Late Summary of a Very Long Week

Sorry folks, had plans for an extended Labor Day barbecue post on things to grill. But then I gave notice at work and things got a little busy. Let me explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up (name that movie).

But now, I have 10 days off between gigs.  Just wait until the before and after cleaning pictures. I’m looking at you Utility Room!!

Meanwhile,

Got a nail polish organizer for my sister.  Was thinking about enrolling it in a Crossfit class, but it turns out it’s a looker.

makeup

My SIL and BIL stopped by on their way back from South Bend to say happy birthday to Drummer Boy.  Speaking of Drummer Boy’s birthday, uh oh, now we have actual drums.

To the Block – so sorry!

For SIL and BIL visit, we did what used to be called an “early supper” as they had a 6:00 flight.   Did the Chicken Kabobs with Tzatziki from prior post.  Also the Israeli Salad from Smitten Kitchen that has made many an appearance here.

This Strawberry Peach Rose Sangria, however, from What’s Gaby Cooking was a big hit.  Diminished the amount of basil leaves by about half, but otherwise didn’t change a thing.

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To celebrate Labor Day, I made this Apple Pie in a Glass dessert, which will also be the subject of another post on easy desserts from Trader Joe’s ingredients,

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But for those who can’t wait

WHAT YOU NEED
5 Granny Smith apples, pealed and cubed into dice
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP white sugar
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 jar Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Sauce
1 container vanilla ice cream
2 cups Trader Joe’s Crunchy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, crumbled

WHAT YOU DO
Mix first 5 ingredients into a pot.  Set over medium heat, covered for about 25 minutes until apples are just tender. Cool apples. Layer apples, crumbled cookies, vanilla ice cream and Salted Caramel Sauce in a glass.

Made the easy Bolognese Sauce from Bon Appetit.

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This is a good recipe if you have a little left over red wine (yes, I’ve heard that happens to some people!) I don’t use veal in this recipe just beef, because in my weird list of rules is the “no eating baby animals” rule. I know, doesn’t make sense. But it keeps the “no eating animals you can have as a pet” rule company.

When you live on The Block, this goes up over-night to celebrate Fake Sister’s Aunt’s 60th Birthday 50’s style:

final1442146624127And this cake gets made by Jen at Pastries So Tasty to celebrate the birthday girl’s first car

final1442146497355And no self-respecting 50’s style party put up overnight in the driveway would find itself without properly attired wait staff!

final1442146398625So now I’m off to clean every inch of this house while I have time off. I’ve already donated seven bags of clothes and shoes, 2 bags of toys and 3 bags of books – and it’s only Thursday.

Rock Show – For Those Unable to Attend, We Salute You With Video

Hello [Duxbury] [Pleasanton] [Chicago] [South Bend] [San Francisco] [Atlanta] [Somewhere in Texas] [Melbourne]!!!!  Welcome to Drummer Boy and Guitar Boy’s latest show–Bonnaroo. How are you all feeling today/tonight? We can’t hear you!!

I Ain’t the Same — Alabama Shakes — Featuring Drummer Boy

Sample in a Jar — Phish — Featuring Guitar Boy

Ready to Start — Arcade Fire — Featuring Guitar Boy and Drummer Boy

Black Sun — Death Cab for Cutie — Featuring Drummer Boy

Everybody Wants to Rule the World — Tears for Fears — Featuring Guitar Boy

Seriously, SRSLY, you don’t need to watch all of them. Just sharing the show with those we don’t get to see as much as we would like to.

Rock on.