Fluoride Mind Control

Happy National ‘I Love Food’ Day, aka every day in my life!

What a brilliant idea for a holiday! There definitely needed to be a day dedicated to celebrating the greatness of food.  Have you had food lately?  It’s the best.  It brings joy and happiness.  It brings people together.  Let’s all give thanks for food today!

In honor of the day, and because I’ve made a lot of things I don’t normally make, I decided to celebrate by cooking a ribeye steak with mushrooms and onions in red wine.  Basically the most gluttonous sounding meal I could think of cooking.


Ryan is typically on steak-duty, but he’s slowly been handing over the crown.  Something about presenting a really well-cooked steak to my family makes me feel like a badass.  Like I can rock being a gentle, loving mom/teacher all day then cook this weird slab of meat like a boss.  I might have some fucked up gender-role issues happening right now.

I always use Alton Brown’s recipe and video for pan-searing steak and finishing it in the oven because:

  1. I’m a little obsessed with Alton Brown.  He turns cooking into a science which is WAY easier for me to wrap my head around.
  2. I don’t know how to light the grill so cooking steak on the stove-top/in the oven is really the only option I have left.



I wish I had a funny story to tell about cooking this steak, but a girl’s allowed to not screw up a meal sometimes right?

I did come to a very important realization tonight though.  A life altering one really.

When I cook something that doesn’t turn out well, Ryan doesn’t linger at the table very long after finishing – he flees quickly to avoid having to answer the “How is it?” questions…

BUT, when I nail it, he hangs out for a long time and talks!  To be honest, he talks AT me more than with me…. actually, he RANTS at me.  And the better the meal, the weirder the rant.  So instead of a funny cooking story, here’s some thoughts Ryan had tonight after eating a really awesome steak dinner.

Ryan: Oh, we need more toothpaste.  Do they make a non-fluoride toothpaste?

Me: Yeah, Toms Natural.

Ryan: No I mean one that will actually clean your teeth, do they make that?

Me: No I’m pretty sure all toothpaste has fluoride.  That’s how toothpaste works.

Ryan: Well I’m already getting my mind controlled by the fluoride in our water, I don’t want anymore in my life.


Ryan: You know they proved that, right.  It’s true.  The fluoride is for mind control.  That’s how they get you to buy more shit and watch their shitty TV shows.  They did a study.


Ryan: What?! I’m just saying, 3M makes all that crazy shit and the fluoride is probably one of those things.  It’s a byproduct from all their shit that they make and then we just drink it and put it in our mouths.  It’s fucked up.  It’s true.

Me: I love you very much right now.

Accidental Vegan Bread

I’m seriously not a vegan.  I eat meat, I promise.

I just happened to forget that we were out of eggs on “National Date-Nut Bread Day”…

I literally got all the supplies ready on the counter and felt like I totally had my life together.

Then opened the refrigerator to grab the eggs and remembered that I used the last eggs to make breakfast in the morning.  *sigh* Maybe next week I’ll pull it together.

In a panic, I did some googling and found an egg substitution chart.  I don’t have a clue what “Soy Protein” is and I’m pretty sure “Agar Agar” is a made up thing… but I had bananas!  Two gloriously ripe bananas that, according to the chart, could easily replace the eggs in this recipe!

So today turned into “Vegan Date-Nut Bread Day”

When I went in search of a Date-Nut Bread recipe I discovered this pin from Kimberly Clifford.  It’s a newspaper clipping of a recipe titled “Grandma’s Date-Nut Bread.”


Nothing sounds more Gina-proof in my mind than a recipe that begins with the word “Grandma’s”.  And it comes from a fucking newspaper clipping!  I love that!  Even with the egg fiasco, this one HAS to be a home-run!  A Grandma has never let me down!


In the process of keeping up with cooking something new every day AND keeping up with a blog, I have discovered that I’m not very good at remembering to take photos of along the way… I completely forgot to photograph anything prior to having all the ingredients combined in a bowl.  The theme today might be that I’m a fairly forgetful person… or that I drink too much wine while cooking… or both.

Everything appeared to be going well – substituting the bananas for the eggs essentially made this banana-date-nut bread which is bound to be delicious.   The only real snafu that I encountered was the vagueness of the recipe.  Grandma’s are obviously way more educated about baking than I am and automatically know that “nuts” probably means walnuts or macadamia nuts and not “whatever random nuts you find in the cabinet”.  Being that I’m not a grandma yet, I used some leftover cashew pieces and thought “These are definitely nuts, I’m definitely doing this right.”

The recipe also said to pour the batter into two pans but as I only have one loaf pan… I took that as more of a “suggestion” and poured the whole batch into one pan.  It looked right, right? It would be okay, right?

I set a timer for 55 minutes and unscrewed the cap on my box wine.  And waited.

I was so excited when the timer went off, the house smelled like delicious hot dates (insert ALL the bad “Hot Date” jokes I made at Ryan..). I tested the bread like I have watched my mom do a thousand times and thought I had definitely nailed it.  This knife was going to come out clean.

Who knew that when you DON’T put the batter in two pans like the recipe says it takes twice as long to cook?!

A little more oven time and a little more wine and voila!  Accidental Vegan Date-Nut Bread!


I brought the loaf to work to share with my co-teachers and they had this to say:

“It tastes mostly like banana bread.”

“It’s…. very moist?”

No one died or got food poisoning so that’s a win in my book!



Almond Cheese Break-up

Bad news.  Almond cheese and I are on a break.

Last night we celebrated “Beer Lover’s Day” and I had the brilliant idea of making beer cheese soup.

Followed by the realization that said deliciousness will not go well for me.  This led to, what I thought was a brilliant idea at the time, the decision to make a small batch of beer-almond cheese soup for myself. I was pumped.


In preparation for this day I also followed the 2-step process required (in our house anyway) to make beer cheese soup when married to a recovering alcoholic:

  1. Secretly purchase one tall-boy of beer and hide it behind the broth containers in the refrigerator.
  2. Wait until your spouse goes upstairs to pull it out and begin making the soup, then drink the remaining beer quickly before announcing “Happy Beer Lovers Day!  I’m making beer cheese soup!”

Works 75% of the time.


Beer cheese soup is one of Ryan’s favorites – probably because it combines his two favorite things.  He likes his soup to be essentially a cheese sauce with some beer thrown in, so I felt pretty confident about this one.  I can make a pretty bomb cheese sauce.  I can casually stir in a can of beer.  I nailed this one.


I dropped the spoon in the soup a few times though… taking pictures while cooking is harder than I expected.


What I didn’t anticipate was how poorly almond cheese would incorporate into a roux…

I’ve used it to make beautiful lasagna, delicious Welsh Rarebit, it’s been a wonderful relationship.  I’ve just never tried to melt a whole bag of it into a vegan butter-flour-beer combo before.

I stirred the mixture for at least 40 minutes, hoping that if I cooked it long enough it would all turn out okay.  I raised the temperature on the burner.  I took out some of the liquid. Then I added some more liquid.  An hour later I still had a weird lumpy broth situation.



In a last ditch effort I threw some popcorn on top of it with the hopes of sucking up some of the lumps.  (I can’t explain why I thought that popcorn was some sort of sponge.  I was desperate at this point.)  In the end, I ate the damn lumpy thing and tried to convince Ryan that it was totally fine and I definitely preferred it that way.  If I admit defeat then I will also have to admit that giving up dairy has been harder than I anticipated.  I’m too spiteful to let him win right now.

*Not pictured are the really terrible “soft pretzels” I tried to make to go with the soup.  They were neither soft nor pretzel flavored.  Nick ate them because he’s a kind person.  Everyone else (myself included) stared at them with sadness.




Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!

(If you’re a Gilmore Girls nerd like I am you should TOTALLY get the title reference…)

I was SO looking forward to this day, I had big plans.  Dreams, really.  Tuesday was National Coffee Ice Cream Day.  A magical day where two of the greatest creations could be combined.  It was going to rival Welsh Rarebit Day as the favorite this month.  Coffee is my sanity, my lifeline.  My body is 70% coffee and I like it that way.  The only person whose coffee addiction could top mine is a Gilmore.

Then a thunderstorm happened Monday night/Tuesday morning and foiled my plans.

It turns out Magdalene is afraid of thunderstorms. Not just afraid, she is TERRIFIED!  At 1:30 Tuesday morning I heard a loud thunder, followed by the fast running feet of Mag as she booked it from Nick’s room (where she sleeps when he is at his dad’s), up the stairs only to stop at the foot of our bed.

This has happened before, but opening my eyes to a small dark figure standing at the foot of the bed never ceases to terrify me a little bit.  In my fucked up mind there is definitely a very short intruder (or alien) standing there waiting to abduct me.

So I grumpily tried to convince Mag to go into her bed to try and sleep, then was too tired to try very hard and let her crawl into our bed.  Here is a vague picture of how the three of us slept:


Mag is the little horizontal one, Ryan is the diagonal one, and I’m the little line sandwiched in between two people.  And the Hays’ are sweaty sleepers… only 2 of us slept the rest of the night..

When my alarm went off at 4:30, – the time in which I planned to quietly get out of bed, combine the ingredients for home-made coffee ice cream then put them in the freezer to chill in time for dinner – I literally slithered vertically out of bed so as not to wake the other two, stood in the shower for WAY longer than planned, and put on the first set of clean smelling clothes I could find.

Turns out I wore a Hello Kitty muscle shirt and acid wash jeans to work yesterday… possibly dirty ones….

So to celebrate the day, I grumpily picked up a pint of Coffee Almond Creme on my way home from work and enjoyed it in bed at 7:20pm.  Then I slept for 10 hours.photo


Cheese-like Product on Pizza Day

Ambitious Nut

Happy National Macadamia Nut Day!

I REALLY wanted to take the easy way out today and just eat a handful of macadamia nuts (or throw some in the air like confetti because it sounded badass), but I know me – if I lose motivation now I’ll never get it back!

So I opted to make white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake…

Remember when I said I don’t know how to bake? I still don’t. Nope. Not even close. I’ve also never made cheesecake. The outlook is grim.

We’re not really a dessert household (insert weird food person thoughts). If it were up to everyone else in the household we would be a dessert house, but I buy the groceries so take that! (Did I mention I’m spiteful?)

Anyway… Being that we are a fairly healthy eating – low sugar family, everyone has been excited about this day! Nick literally followed me around while I made dinner; asking if it was cheesecake time yet…

Ryan was equally excited but with a healthy dose of skepticism… He’s really wonderful, but 5+ years of mostly bad cooking has conditioned him to be a skeptic. Sometimes I prove him wrong and it’s AMAZING!

I played around with the idea of making a vegan version so that I could enjoy today without the terrible consequences, but attempting a new recipe AND attempting to veganize it seemed like a bad choice… So I went with a recipe from Taste and Tell.

Instead of making one normal cheesecake I made 6 mini cheesecakes. Because if you give me a recipe I will find a way to rebel against it!

Plus look at these tiny graham cracker crusts! They’re so damn cute!!! I saw them while enjoying “quiet mom time” at Target and couldn’t resist!
photo 1 (2)
Being that we live in a tiny space, and are not sleeping on piles of cash, we don’t own a stand mixer.  I also don’t own a double boiler. Could someone please tell me what a double boiler is?! Both were listed in the recipe, so naturally I disregarded them and attempted to “low and slow” melt the white chocolate in the microwave while hand creaming the cream cheese, sugar and eggs. If you’re thinking “I could probably hand mix those items”, don’t. Cream cheese is not really as creamy as it sounds and it will form a paste with the sugar that is uncreamable. Use a stand mixer. Or hand mixer even! Or have a glass of wine and then just have at it like I did… It’ll be an adventure.

The good news is: I didn’t burn the white chocolate. The bad news is: they’re going to be some lumpy ass cheesecakes!

After ignoring a few more key steps in the recipe, I threw in a fistful of macadamia nuts, spooned the batter into the crust and waited while they baked!

photo 2 (2)

Then waited while they cooled in the refrigerator…

Cheesecake takes too long.

photo 3 (2)

Nick and Mag were so excited when they were finished and I have to admit, I was feeling pretty proud of myself too!  They totally look like edible cheesecakes! According to the kids they were delicious. According to Ryan they were “pretty sweet…” Which I’m taking to mean

*Eventually I will start using my ACTUAL camera and not just my iphone… so all the photos will cease to be a weird yellow color… for now I’m just trying to stay on top of blogging.  One thing at a time.



The Feminist Ribs

Grits and Rainbow Kitty

Happy National “Eat Grits For Breakfast” Day!

Part of why I love National Food Holidays is the specificity of some of them!  Today could have just been “Grits Day”, but no!  These grits must be enjoyed at breakfast or not at all!

Today is also the day in which, every year, my friend Ruth and I take my kids to the Great American Eat Together, aka the Minnesota State Fair.  The key to having a successful day at the fair is getting there as early as possible, which meant skipping breakfast at home and taking time to hunt down grits at the fair.  If you’ve ever been to the Minnesota State Fair, you know that you can find essentially anything to eat at any time of the day… especially if it involves deep frying it or wrapping it in bacon.

photo 1

After several hours of walking and two delightfully painted faces, we found cheesy grits in the International Bazaar.  I was pumped.  I smiled proudly for a photo.  Then I learned that grits mostly taste like nothing.  Like butter and air.  I was definitely full for most of the morning though!photo 2

*fun fact: Maggie would prefer to be called “Rainbow Kitty Cat” from now on.  Meow.

Gyros and Tears

*fun fact: though I cooked the lamb gyros… I also made myself a lamb-free falafel version… it was delicious.