The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: cooking tips

Just the Tip Tuesday: Have Fun with Your Leftovers

Do you like a good underdog story? Then please “like” The Bearded Iris at Babble.com’s list of the Top 50 Mom Blogs.  Three months ago I was ranked at #891. Today I’m #10 (OMG!!!). My readers are THE BEST. Just sayin’.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging…

Last week I was trying a new crock pot recipe for chipotle beef tacos. It wasn’t great; totally not worth sharing, unfortunately. However, I did come up with a great kitchen tip in the process that might be of use to you.

But first, it’s time for another riveting installment of:

Real Conversations, Really Bad Parenting.

Her: “Mom? Why is there cat poop in the freezer? Is Gracie okay?”

Me: “That’s not poop.”

Her: “Looks like poop.”

Me: “It’s not poop. ”

Her: “SNOT POOP?”

Me: “It. Is. Not. Poop.”

Her:  “Then why does it look like poop?”

Me: “It looks like poop?”

Her: “MOM! Please. You know that totally looks like poop!”

Me: “Does it?”

Her: “MOM!”

Me: “Not my poop. I eat a lot of fiber.”

Her: “Ew. Mom! TMI! It looks like CAT poop. Sick cat poop.”

Me: “Great – you’re hired. Since you are such an expert on cat poop, you can scoop Gracie’s litter box from now on.”

Her: “Ugh. Mom. That’s not fair.”

Me: “SNOT FAIR? Ew! I’m totally not buying a raffle ticket there, I’ll tell you that much.”

Her: “MOM!”

Me: “Honey, will you please hand me one of those cat turds from the freezer? Mama’s making soup.”

Her: “I’m running away.”

Me: “Take your brothers.”

* * * * *

I know what you’re thinking. “Iris wrote about poop. So unlike her!” In my defense, totally not my fault. SHE started it. My kids are so gross. Must get it from their Dad.

This all fits together, by the way. Stay with me. I know it’s a stretch.

The recipe called for 2 tablespoons of pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I had a can of these, but it was a big can…way more than I needed.

So I pureed the whole can in my blender, scooped out the two tablespoons I needed, put the rest in a quart sized baggie, and was about to chuck it into the freezer for future use.

That’s when it dawned on me, “Wait…how am I going to access two tablespoons (or so) of this stuff the next time I need it if it’s all frozen together in a big clump?”

I thought about spooning it from the baggie into a plastic ice cube tray and freezing individual portions like I used to with fresh baby food, but I’m too lazy to wash ice cube trays after the fact and that oily red adobo sauce stains like a mofo.

That’s when a great big eco-friendly compact fluorescent light bulb appeared over my head.

I know! I’ll just cut the tip off the baggie and squirt individual portions onto freezer paper and freeze the blobs. Once they’re frozen, I’ll store them in a freezer baggie!

So that’s what I did. And it totally worked like a charm.

And I think it’s just an added bonus that the blobs totally look like sick cat poop.

These are the blobs before I froze them. (Anyone humming the Diarrhea Boom Boom song?)

One frozen blob of the chipotle pepper puree.

Bag o' frozen blobs.

By the way, two tablespoons of this stuff is pretty flavorful and spicy. I’m thinking one tablespoon would be plenty of seasoning the next time I make something chipot-licious. I’m pretty sure I can use a sharp knife and cut those frozen pepper puree turds in half though, easy peasy.

Sure hope I don’t find any tapeworms in there when I do.

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


How to Cut Brownies

So you’ve been invited to a dinner party and the hostess has asked you to bring a dessert.

Don’t panic.

Even if baking is not your thing, you can pull this off with grace and dignity for a minimum amount of money or effort.

The answer is brownies.

Everyone loves ’em and it’s really hard to screw them up.

Just buy a box, follow the directions, and let them cool.

But don’t be a schmuck and turn a beautiful tray of brownies into this:

Yes, friends, that actually did happen to me once. Oh, the shame!

Listen, you have enough to worry about when you go to a friend’s house for dinner, like will your kids go crazy and break the hostess’s grandfather’s antique African kettle drum? Or will you have too many Margaritas and tell a story about how a mutual friend from high school took a dump on your mother’s car after you played a prank on him in 1987?

Hey, shit happens.

So make sure you don’t add to the drama with a mangled dessert.

A good dessert is your Get Out of Jail Free Card for all the other mistakes you may make during the evening.

And here’s the best part…you don’t need any special equipment.

Sure, we’ve all seen ads for the new brownie pan…

Save your money, Honey Bunny.

You can get the same results with a cheap plastic knife.

What? You don’t believe me?

Watch and learn, sweetie.

Here’s the before shot:

Mmmmm. Brownies.

Next, get your cheapo plastic disposable knife and cut the whole big brownie into two halves like so:

See how cleanly that plastic knife cuts? It’s a miracle!

Next, cut in half the other way so you have fourths. (Didn’t know you’d be getting a math lesson today, didja?)

Can you guess what’s next? Eighths!

I totally rock at fractions.

How to Cut Brownies by The Bearded Iris

See? How easy was that?! Plastic knife. Who knew?

You can take some vanilla ice cream with you and you have a perfectly simple and delicious dessert. Or go whole hog and bring choco-syrup and rainbow sprinkles too. The kids will go ape shit.

One last thing, brownies are really easy to jazz up if you want to make them fancy. My friend Anne adds peanut butter chips to her brownie batter: DELISH! No peanut butter chips in your pantry? You can also take spoonfuls of peanut butter, drop them onto the batter, and spread them out with a spatula before you bake the brownies. Fabulous!

If I’m feeling super fancy, I’ll substitute Kahlúa for the water in the basic boxed brownie recipe. The alcohol cooks off and you are left with a rich mocha flavor. Oooh la la!

So there you have it. Keep it sweet. Keep it simple. And keep it from not sucking. That’s my Just the Tip Tuesday secret for you.

xoxo,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


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