Getting the jump on Autumn

Autumn is my favorite season so I'm going to rush it along by making some stew. My awesome mother made this when I was growing up and it's always a big hit when I crank it out. Usually I make it with beef but Duddit's had some venison in his freezer so I decided to give that a shot. Honestly, there isn't much difference in taste though.

Mom's Magic Stew 
2 lbs venison or beef cubed
8oz can tomato sauce, and 1 can of water from tomato sauce can
1 can peas
1 can kidney beans 
1 can carrots sliced
1 can green beans
2 medium onions chopped
3 potatoes, cut up
1/4 cup uncooked Minute Tapioca
Biscuits because they make any stew complete
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Mix all ingredients put in a dutch oven or roasting pan, top with bread crumbs.
Seal top of pan with foil and seal tight.  Put lid on top of foil.  
Try not to do this with the foil.

Bake at 250 for 5 hours without opening. (if you add other vegetables or more, add more water just to have all covered.  Be careful when removing foil due to the steam.)
Enjoy with a biscuit and hope that fall gets here soon!


It's OK, I'm with the band.

You get NO fun graphics today, instead you get a prize!

I feel like I've been waiting forever to write this entry! Unfortunately, my internet at home has been down and I've been working some super insane hours so even though I want to gush all over the place I just don't have it in me, I'm just hella punchy. But take my word for it, under any other circumstances I'd be losing my mind with coherent excitement right now.

So, the good news?

My super awesome, incredibly wonderful and talented as all hell friend, Dan, has just released his 1st solo album! I've been listening to the songs for months because I'm all sorts of V.I.P and even though there isn't tons of electric guitars & incoherent screaming I really dig it, hence I think that you will too.

And what makes this even better? It's FREE! So if you don't like it, no big deal, all he wants is your soul. Wait, I mean your name & email address so he knows you're human, or so he can make a voodoo doll of everyone who has the album, either way, what do you care?

So head on over thisaway for details and if you happen to be a fan you might want to check out his band Nightlite Mary because they are also awesome.


Falling into Autumn

When I was 12 years old moving to New England seemed like a death sentence. I mean seriously, the entire region is expected to share one football team! We had to drive passed fields of corn & cows to get to the new house. The main road was only ONE lane! As I've gotten older I've learned to appreciate the little things New England has to offer (with the exception of the Red Sox). I've also gained the ability transport myself back to my beloved New York whenever I want, so that helps.

I think the absolute best thing about New England is that no matter what the calendar says it's already Autumn. And with that, since the internet at my house is out I'm doing the 5 things I love about Autumn in no particular order.

College Football, specifically Notre Dame football, which in recent years hasn't given me much to be happy about but I love it just the same. My family has a long history with Notre Dame and one day I'll tell you about it because it's kind of awesome and it's certainly left me with unconditional love for the Fighting Irish.

Professional Football, most notably the New York Giants. So much so that my work availability revolves around their schedule. Thankfully I was born in the region of New York that belongs to them fans otherwise I'd be stuck with the miserable existence that every Jet fan is burdened with. Win or lose my love for big blue has never faltered and my Manning jersey is the focal point of my wardrobe every Sunday.

Pumpkin! This is the time of year when people start putting pumpkin in everything! I'm currently sipping a pumpkin iced coffee as I type this. We get muffins, donuts, coffee, ice cream, pie etc and it's HEAVENLY! Not to mention carving them is a blast.

A is for APPLE! This is another thing that starts popping up everywhere this time of year and being surrounded by orchards makes it that much sweeter. From apple cider to apple butter and every single amazing thing in between Autumn just wouldn't be the same without it.

Last but certainly not least: foliage. FOE-LEE-AGE if you say foil-age you can just GTFO right now. It makes you sound like a crazy leaf peeper and it means that you're one of those people who's holding up traffic. It's absolutely gorgeous but learn to appreciate it while on the move, no need to stop traffic to see the pretty colors.

What's your favorite thing about Autumn?


How much is your life worth?

Remember that time I almost died? I'm sure it's been keeping you up nights. I haven't had a smoothie since but I did have some fruit today so life is slowly returning to normal.

Three days after "the incident" Stop & Shop thought it would be wise to email me:

First, please allow me apologize for the delay in getting back to you and to thank you for taking the time to contact us. I really would have liked some kind of excuse here.

I was so sorry to learn of your experience with Stop & Shop frozen mixed fruit.  Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience you were caused.

I assure you we share your concern, as we want to provide our customers with the highest quality products at all times.  Please know that I have made the supplier aware of your experience for their immediate follow-up with you. The standards for the quality and processing of all products sold in our stores are rigid and we are eager to maintain those standards.
Was someone on vacation?

Thanks, again, for contacting us.  We appreciate hearing from you.

Dee Bowling
Foodhold Consumer Affairs Specialist

I assumed that the supplier would be contacting me via email so I waited and then nothing happened, until today. National Frost out of East Rochester, NY sent me a letter:

We are sorry to learn of your experience with your recent purchase of Stop & Shop 16 oz Mixed Fruit. Horrific experience.

As a supplier to Stop & Shop Supermarkets we want to supply our customers with product that meets their high standards. But not yours? We have numerous quality check points to ensure that Stop & Shop products meet those high standards. Oh yeah? Hows that working out for you?

Enclosed please find cash in the amount of $5.00 to reimburse you for your purchase and to thank you for taking th etime to call this to our attention. Yeah, because I did it for you.

We hope that you will purchase Stop & Shop products in the future. 

Actual in pen signature
Tom Crandall

So my life is worth $5. You can't tell from the picture but the bill is pretty beat up so I think Good Old Tom probably just plucked it out of his pocket.

I'm not sure though how to spend it, any ideas?


Thank You Dollar Store.

Mr. Button had a birthday recently and people came over to the house to celebrate. I am a firm believer in party decorations so I headed out to the dollar store to pick up some matchy matchy things I could throw all over the house. I wanted twilight decorations but they are apparently too expensive for the dollar store to carry. This is a shame because even though he would deny it to his friends, I think an appearance by Edward Cullen's face under a slice of ice cream cake would have really made Mr. Button's day. I settled on some generic sports theme instead because football was upon us and Mr. Button is more likely to admit to his super manly testosterone filled love of sports than the one he has for sparkly vampires. *le sigh*

So these are the decorations I spent $6 on:

Festive little flags

Festive little hanging things

Festive plates, cups & napkins.

Festive birthday wishes.

Wait. look at that again. Apparently at the dollar store you get what you paid for. HAPPA BIRTHDAY!!

Also no birthday at my house would be complete without an obnoxiously gigantic balloon.

Do you have any dorky birthday musts? Is it weird that the birthday sign was up for hours before someone noticed the misspelling?


Epic Noms

I'm pretty sure this recipe is Katie's claim to fame. Everyone makes it and everyone loves it! I've made it a few times now so I've tweaked it a bit which is why I'm going to post my version of the recipe.

Mustard Baked Chicken

12 chicken tenders, skin and visible fat removed
1 box tri colored rotini
9 tbsp Promise Light spread (or other lowfat margarine/butter), melted
9 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
11/4 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp paprika
Olive oil
Olive oil cooking spray
Fresh ground sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 green pepper
1 tomato
1 squash
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray bottom of 9x13 glass baking dish with olive oil cooking spray and set aside.

2. Chop up green pepper, tomato & squash, place in large frying pan or wok

3. In a small mixing bowl, mix margarine, mustard, lemon juice, Splenda, and paprika until mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix.

4. Place chicken breasts in baking dish and brush marinade generously on top of each breast with a brush. Set aside marinade. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. While chicken is baking add a olive oil and lemon juice to vegetable and turn heat to high cook the vegetables until they reach the desired texture.

4. After 15 minutes, remove dish from oven and flip chicken breasts. Brush other side generously with marinade and sprinkle each breast with poppyseeds. Set aside remaining marinade. Return to oven and bake for 15 more minutes.

5. Bring a pot of water seasoned with olive oil and sea salt to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Remove from heat and drain.

Add pasta to the wok with vegetables.

Pour remaining marinade into to pasta/veggie mixture.

When chicken is finished baking remove it from the oven and cut up. Add wok and toss.

Cook on medium for a few minutes.



Mmmmm Smoothies aka how I almost died.

I hope your holiday weekend was filled with less peril than mine was. Not to say my weekend wasn't lovely. Tons of great stuff happened, the weather was beautiful, Notre Dame won their first game, Jimmie Johnson had a top 5 finish, Mr. Button had a birthday and I won a poker game.

The problem was Sunday morning when I went to make myself a smoothie. The best part about smoothies isn't that I can make them in any yummy flavor my little button heart desires, but that I get to use my magic bullet while I do so. If you're unfamiliar with the product you fail an infomercials and I'm not sure I want you reading my blog or being my friend. Harsh? Maybe, but watch the infomercial and tell me that you're honestly not ashamed to have been missing out for all these years. I really do love it, it's magic and works almost as well as they say it does. I have no complaints and use it whenever I can. It's awesome for smoothies because I can blend them right in the cup I drink them from! Ok, I'm done trying to sell it to you, just go buy it yourself.

Anyway, It was like ever other day, I got out the bullet, measured out cup of water, two scoops of button's mystery smoothie powder & headed to the freezer for my frozen fruit. I selected the stop & shop brand mixed fruit that contained pineapple, strawberry, peaches & mangos because it's my new favorite. The bag was almost empty so I dumped it into the cup, added the powder, water screwed on the top and started to blend it.

A few seconds later the cup seemed to explode! Suddenly everything, even me seemed to be covered in smoothie and when I stopped freaking out I noticed something very strange on the counter next to the magic bullet a chunk of metal, that my friend later said had to be a piece from a tension rod.

It's a pretty heavy chunk of metal and for that I am glad because if it was lighter it would have traveled farther and if the path of the smoothie was any indication hit me directly in the stomach. Which according to my friend would have really made it a magic bullet. (hardy har har)

Here you can see the fruit I will never feel safe buying again, the damaged cup and the offending piece of metal. Pretty freaky, eh?

Unfortunately my, so I've been told, rather pricey purse was a casuality of smoothie spraying all over my kitchen and since it was a gift from Mr. Button's mom I'm pretty bummed about it.

So I must know, does anyone else have any experiences like this? What would you do if it happened to you?


Let's spice it up!

Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken

I decided to go a little bit healthier for a change, I got this recipe on spark and altered it a little. 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup salsa (I prefer newmans b/c it has the least amount of sodium)
1/2 package reduced sodium taco seasoning
1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream (fat free doesn't have enough flavor)
1 can pinto beans

Cut up chicken and add to slow cooker.
Pour salsa & sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken.

Pour beans and soup over chicken.

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Remove from heat and add sour cream.
Mix it together.

Serve over rice and enjoy! I absolutely loved this and the fact that it's not god awful for you is a huge bonus.


Friday's Five: Squirrel Edition

As a light-hearted finale to our first squirrel week I'd like to bring you the top five famous squirrels!

Hokey Smoke! It's Frostbite Falls favorite flying fella! Rocket J. Squirrel, known to the rest of us as Rocky. You may remember that he palled around with a bumbling moose known as Bullwinkle. Rocky was clearly the brains of the operation though that isn't saying much since he still fell for Boris & Natasha's really lame disguises.

Step back Austin Powers, your idea to parody James Bond wasn't so original. Greetings Agent 000. Here's someone you may remember from way back in the 60's. So popular that he actually appeared on 3 television shows, the final one airing in 1994 as well as a multitude of cameos. He palled around with Morocco Mole and his legendary trench coat and hat were storage to some of the greatest spy gadgets of our time.

Now who doesn't love a crabby old squirrel who liked toting explosives and smacking people with her handbag? The only bad thing about Slappy Squirrel who had a stint on the Animaniacs was her disgustingly chipper nephew Skippy. Unfortunately, being in a children's cartoon and all she was never able to successfully blow him smitherines.

I present to you Twiggy the water skiing squirrel, I don't care who you are this is impressive, I can't even water ski. Twiggy is actually several gay squirrels trained in succession which I find comforting because the thought of one squirrel water skiing since 1979 would completely blow my mind. You'll be happy to know that the retired Twiggy's live out their days as family pets and do not make it into anyones kitchen.

And now something for the younger crowd or maybe not because apparently this show is more than 10 years old. This is Sandy Cheeks, she's a transplanted Texan who currently lives in Bikini Bottom, home of the infamous SpongeBob SquarePants. Apparently she's a scientific genius which may explain the space suit that allowed a squirrel to survive at the bottom of the ocean.

I hope you enjoyed squirrel week! I hope to do it again next year!