Category Archives: Skunk

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Autumn

My sister made fun of me because I bought this cute little mustard mug at Cost Plus World Market last weekend


Then decorated for fall with Skunk the Cat (#nothelpful).


and then arranged a whole Oktoberfest dinner around the mustard. Is that so wrong?


Mostly, I just wanted fall to begin and by using my condiment talisman, I was successful.  So successful, in fact, that it was 44 degrees at Drummer Boy’s soccer game Friday night.  Let me know if anyone needs any spells cast. Because I’m on it. And, speaking of witches, HALLOWEEEEEEEN time!

So what’s new this year?

Lots more skeletons in the yard.dsc_0250

This guy!


Not new but still fun for cats to bite the tails


Accidentally went to TJ Maxx/Homegoods and came home with this skull


and his friend (helpful cat for scale).


Did I mention Skunk the Cat sleeps in a shark head now. Yep.  But only if it’s on a pillow. He’s got cable in there, but I didn’t get him HBO. That’s where I draw the line. #notspoiled


Oh and some fun swirling ghost lights, but they are really hard to get a picture of what with all their haunting. So if you are in the neighborhood, swing by and take a look.

But what to make, now that we can turn on the oven again?

I have always wanted to try to make Momofuku’s Compost Cookie because I see it referenced so many places on the internet. However, the recipes posted are vastly different.  The most common one calls for using a 6 ounce scoop to form the dough. That is almost a cup of dough per cookie! Seems a bit much. So I kind of borrowed from this recipe from Amateur Gourmet and this one posted by the original chef.  The point is to use up whatever you have a little bit of, balancing the sweet and the savory.

The Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 TBSP corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt (note: Adjust if your savory ingredients are extra salty)
1 1/2 cups total mini chocolate chips and crushed KitKats
1 1/2 cups total your favorite salty snack. I used potato chips, pretzels (crushed with my hands so there were still large lumps of pretzels) and Rice Krispies.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the butter, sugars, and corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 10 minutes.  I’m serious, don’t skip this, let it go 10 minutes.  It will get all puffy.

Reduce the speed to really low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

Pour in the sweet items and mix on low just until broken up a little and combined.  Then add your salty ingredients and mix by hand until incorporated.  

Now here’s where some experimenting comes in.  Some recipes said to chill as scoops, some said press down lightly.  Some said freeze, some said refrigerate. I did both. The scoops (as pictures below left) didn’t cook in the middle.  And the pan you cook it on also needs to be cold. And the first batch burnt on the bottom (I say burnt, Fake Sister’s dad says they are just crispy – so that batch goes to him!)

Here’s what I did:  Heat oven to 375 degrees. Using an ice cream scoop, portion the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Flatten the scoops into a disc like the one on the right.


Cover tightly with plastic and put in freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove and put in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to a week.  You have to cook these from cold or they dissolve.

Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment or silicone baking mat-lined sheet pan.  To prevent burning bottoms, I put one sheet pan on top of another. Bake for 15 minutes turning the pan at the middle mark. The cookies will spread a lot.  You want them browned on the edges but looking almost not done (but yet done). You can add a minute or two if not done. Cool completely on the pan.

And voila!  Ginormous sweet/salty cookies.


I made this Autumn Bliss Salad with Stuffing Croutons from A Beautiful Mess.   The only thing I did differently is that instead of cooking the celery I put it in the salad crispy and cold, but added 1/8 of a teaspoon of celery salt to the crouton mixture.  You could seriously serve these croutons as a snack and no one would judge you.  Certainly not me!


I also added two squirts of honey to the dressing. I would suggest dressing the lettuce before adding pumpkins seeds and cranberries, otherwise they sink to the bottom when you toss.

I’m thinking maybe next up some apple loaves are in order. And in honor of the fall weather we’re having Soup-a-palooza at work, so this coming weekend I need to make two gallons of creamy tomato soup. You say prizes, I say how many gallons you need??  More on that later.

Over the weekend we made a mandatory pumpkin farm visit.


But didn’t get any big pumpkins because (a) last year they all rotted almost instantly, with a black moss type thing growing in them, so those strobe lights in there were sacrificed to the Pumpkin King and (2) they were out of wagons to carry them.  Grocery store pumpkins it is!

There will be both a costume October birthday party and a costume pizza night coming up, along with actual Halloween. So don’t think this is the end, because the Halloween storage bins, they are CALLING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!!!!!!


Have a great rest of the week everyone.

Enjoy It While It Lasts

That time of summer break between sports ending and sports and school starting. Two weeks of nothing but easy day camps, shopping for school supplies and hanging out at the pool. Wish that it could never end.

Didn’t do much in the way of cooking.  Made some Greek chicken kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce and saffron rice.

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Chicken Kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce

For Chicken
2 cups plain greek yogurt (not non-fat)
1 1/2  TBSP chopped garlic
Zest of 1 large lemon
Juice of said large lemon
2 tsp of chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 – 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into medium wedges
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

8 skewers

Place first 7 ingredients in a glass dish or bowl and whisk to combine.  Add chicken and cover and refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight.  If using wood skewers, soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes before you are ready to cook. To grill, heat grill to medium heat.  Thread the chicken and red onion on skewers, alternating between chicken and onion.  Grill until chicken is 165 degrees, taking care to move to lower heat if burning.  About 15 minutes total.

For the Tzatziki Sauce
I basically used Ina Garten’s recipe for the Tzatziki Sauce.  However, while Ina awaits Jeffery’s arrival from the city with a fresh bouquet of hydrangeas, she has time to drain her yogurt and shredded cucumbers for hours. She is not taking her children to the latest movie cast by her dear friend Barbara McCarthy. No, not The Stanford Prison Experiment!!  But Pixels. And if we’re going to see a movie about deadly video games, we’re going to do it in style where we can recline and be served ice-cold Fanta.


Needless to say, this left me without the requisite amount of yogurt and cucumber draining time. We did not suffer.

Saffron Rice

2 pinches of saffron, crumbled or crushed with back of spoon in  small dish
1 cup basmati rice
1 TBSP dried minced onion
2 cups low or no-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp kosher salt

Bring all ingredients to boil in a pot.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is fluffy.

I also had leftover red wine from Friday’s pizza night. So I made sangria with this cute pitcher I got when we accidentally went to Ikea after the movie.


However, the photo shoot of said sangria did not go well as I had a lot of help by someone with a bad sense of white space balance and shadows.


So we’ll make it again another time and share. But suffice to say, there is nothing LaCroix Cran-Raspberry water cannot do!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Home Sweet Home

As you can tell, Lucky Rhino has moved to a new home.  I thank the fine folks at Tumblr but thought it was time to use the domain name I reserved years ago, pre-financial crisis, when there was a threat I would open a home goods store (not to be confused with my store crush on TJ Maxx/HomeGoods).

So, going forward, this is where the blog will live.

Since I am thiiiis shy of being the least computer literate person around, I’m not yet familiar with this format so there may be some glitches, sudden font changes, 2 spaces between sentences* or changes in widgets. It will eventually settle down, I promise.

For now, please enjoy this picture of Skunk and I on RACCOON WATCH – 2015.




*Kevin says that everyone will know I’m over 40 because of my ridiculous reliance on two spaces after a period. I say everyone will know I’m over 40 because, for the love of all that is holy, have you seen my hands?!