Red Robin

Two of our kids went to a lock-in at church, one went to a friend’s house to sleepover and the twins stayed with Frank at I. After dropping the one off at his friend’s house, we headed to a Good Friday service. The boys were well behaved during the quiet, candlelit service. After the service,  we made our way out through the snow (snow, yes I said snow — it was almost all GONE and now it is back again — 100 inches this year) to our car. In the car, Sal reminded us that he wants chicken wings.

“Chicken wings, mom. Dad. Chicken wings.” Slurping sound.

As nonchalant as telling me it is cold out on a early Spring evening. But what do you expect, he’s been dropping desirous chicken wing hints for two weeks now. Frank (or I, don’t remember), thought maybe we could stop somewhere for a bite to eat. Satisfy Sal, and have dinner out with the twins – something we haven’t done in a long time, just the four of us.

Somehow we ended up at Red Robin. The boys both ordered 1/2 orders of wings, Frank a burger and me… I ordered the Whisky River turkey burger (I think that’s the name — it’s got onion straws on it, very yummy). Frank also put an order in for some onion rings. I got a Capitol Brewery Maibock and Frank a Sam Adams. The waitress asked for my ID, which I didn’t have. I told her I had a 16 year old daughter at home and that I was 34. It feels awkward to get ID’d. On one hand it is flattering and on the other irritating because my wallet hugs my ID too tightly, making it cumbersome to remove on request.

We played a game on the paper place-mat while we waited for our food, Frank with Sal and I with Franny. Connect the squares, where you take turns drawing a line to connect the dots, making squares, seeing who gets the most. I won.

The onion rings were delicious, a large tower of onions, stacked on a thin rod and happily dipped in the ranch-y dill or barbecue flavored dips. Our food came soon after the onion tower. I took my bottom bun off (I always eat my burgers with a knife and fork), and the bottom of my turkey burger was… black. Hmm. I took a bite, hoping that it wouldn’t taste as burnt as it looked. It did. Frank concurred after being force-fed a bite.

Everything was so nice I didn’t want to complain. I, nearly apologetically, showed our waitress. Her nose crinkled up, “I’ll get you a new one right away.”

I thanked her and munched on onion rings while I waited. Frank ate slow, apparently feeling badly that I was sans burger as he had his hot in his hands. My new burger arrived in another person’s hands who apologized more than once. She was very nice. I returned her kindness; the burger was perfectly cooked, juicy and delicious. She came back soon after with “Bird Bucks” – ten of them, apologizing again. I had not expected that at all and laughed a bit confirming what I heard was correct, “Bird Bucks” back to her. She rolled her eyes with a good natured smile.

Can’t tell you how many times in the past I would have demanded some Bird Bucks for a charred burger. Last night the thought didn’t cross my mind, though until she brought them out to me. It was a nice gesture. Props to the birds over at Red Robin.

– – –

Today, we dye eggs. Eggs aren’t as cheap as they used to be. Not many Easter seasons ago I remember buying eggs for much less than a dollar. This time of year they’d dip down and sometimes on sale you’d get them for dirt cheap. It was nice because if you bought a few cartons just to dye, it wasn’t a huge waste. Not anymore, not around here at least. Since the sale price ($2 a carton) of the Eggland’s Best eggs wasn’t much different from the sale price of the regular eggs, I bought the Eggland’s Best anticipating some egg salad sandwiches for lunch this week. And now I’m off to see if the twins want to go to the egg hunt. Hunting for eggs in the snow… yay!!

Delicious Cornbread

I’ve been on a quest for some delicious cornbread for… well, years. Today’s dinner menu was chili and cornbread (home made). I bought some stone ground cornmeal for the cornbread (my husband said it was Hodgson’s, but I don’t see it on their site), and thought I’d try one of the recipes on the back. I found this one for Old Fashioned Cornbread, but got a bit scared since the recipe called only for the cornmeal and NO flour. I guess I wasn’t ready for old fashioned just yet. Instead I fell back on my ol’ reliable Aunt Jemima Cornbread recipe.

Golden Cornbread

    * 1 cup Quaker or Aunt Jemima Enriched Yellow Corn Meal
    * 1 cup all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat flour)
    * 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar
    * 4 teaspoons baking powder
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1 cup milk
    * 1 egg
    * 1/4 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. In large bowl, combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. Add milk, egg and oil. Beat until fairly smooth, about 1 minute.
4. Bake in greased or sprayed 8-inch square baking pan 20 to 23 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Yield: About 9 servings

I double this puppy and put it in a hot skillet (oven warmed with some shortening melted and smeared all over the inside). It’s good and the family likes it. But it is crumbly and chunks off when I butter it. Frank and I got to talking, as he thinks the cornbread is very delicious. He said my idea of cornbread is the cake-like corn cakes purchased from Whole Foods and certain restaurants in town. That those kinds of corn breads is not authentic cornbread. Which made sense to me and calmed my feelings of cornbread failure. I’m not sure if he is correct or not about “authentic” cornbread. And I still like the moist, sticky corn…cake, the way it breaks off in a dense chunk of sweet bread. I’ve yet to master that recipe, though.

Tater Tot Casserole

What do you do with a bag of ‘Tots? Why casserole, of coarse.

I had some ground beef, browned, bagged and frozen. Tater Tots. Hmm. My family loves casseroles. Here’s what I did (didn’t measure).

Sauteed about a cup of onion in some butter/olive oil, added about 1T. of chopped garlic to the mix. Sprinkled about 1/4 cup of flour on top, then added 5 cups of milk, slowly, while stirring the whole time. Heat and stir, added a few shakes of Tabasco, some salt and pepper. Heat until thick and bubbly, stir in about 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Turn off heat and stir until melted. Mix in the ground beef.

In large baking dish empty 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies to cover bottom of dish. Oh, I sprayed the dish with some non-stick spray before I did this. I digress, back to the veggies, sprinkle some salt and pepper on them, and a handful of shredded cheddar cheese. Pour cheesy beefy mixture on top. Take your bag of frozen Tater Tots and spread them evenly over the top of the dish. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes, take it out and top with a cup of cheese (I sprinkled some garlic on top) then return to oven until tots are browned and it is bubbly. Serve with a simple salad. Yum.

Everyone loved it. You can add in some other veggies, too, if you have them. We ate it for a late lunch and then the kids heated more up for a snack later on. I had one kid who claimed he wouldn’t like it and ended up eating those words.

Earflap Hat Numero Dos

So glad I got started on that scarf. Sigh. In true form of my compulsive craftiness (ie. A.D.D. knitting), I abandoned the scarf to work on a hat. Not needing much of an excuse to do so, since my natural inclination is to abandon projects, particularly scarves it seems. But the other day Franny remarked on how our hat supply had dwindled.

Ya don’t say?

That was Monday, and by noon I was at the store buying black and brown yarn and by Tuesday night was weaving in the ends on the completed hat. I had DT try it on for me and he said, “Nice hat, too big though.” And that’s pretty much what they all said, the little boogers. I was nearly maniacal, silly drunk with knitting that the “too big” part hurt me wee ego a bit. But, hey. I successfully worked some DPNs this time, so it is a learning process.

Lootie was my kind model. Again. So grace-filled in the morning hours while munching waffles before school.

(Photo on Picasa)

(Photo on Picasa)

I’m guessing my next hat will be started within a day or so.