Sloppy Joes

Perhaps this is another “doesn’t everyone know how to make this?” post, but up until a couple years ago, I actually didn’t know how to make this. The recipe below is adapted from my The Joy of Cooking cookbook and is my personal favorite. The majority of the kids like it too, so that’s a bonus.


Sloppy Joes (Yield: serves 6-8)

1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
3 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
a few dashes of hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

1) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent, then add garlic and stir for another minute or so. Transfer to a bowl or plate and set aside.

2) Add beef to the skillet and break it up, cooking until it’s just browned. Return the onion mixture to the pan and add the ketchup, water, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.

3) Partially cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens.

Serve over your toasted bread of choice.


Snippet from the Other Morning


My couch/ rocker chair after an hour and a half of folding laundry. It almost never looks like this, hence a picture.


The formerly clean and clear deck after two minutes of kid play. It almost always looks like this, but it still amazes me how much kids can accomplish in mere seconds.

(Not pictured: the chicken scratch scattered hither and yon, the collision of 8 mini cars at the bottom of the treadmill, and someone’s drumset of sticks and buckets)

Oatmeal Cookies

One of the Dearliest’s favorites.


Oatmeal Cookies (Yield: About 4 dozen)

1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
(to use honey instead, see below)

2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup nuts or raisins
1 cup chocolate chips
3 cups old fashioned oats

1) Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.
2) In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars.
2) Beat in eggs one at a time.
3) In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
4) Gradually mix dry mixture into wet.
5) Stir in nuts/ raisins/ oats.
6) Drop large spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet, then bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden.
7) Remove to cooling rack.

For times when I want a slightly healthier cookie (for me, this means no refined sugar), I have successfully adapted this recipe to honey. The texture is not quite the same, but it’s still a nice, chewy oatmeal cookie.

Instead of brown and white sugar, substitute:

3/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon molasses

To compensate for the extra moisture, add 1/4 cup to the flour (making 2 cups total).

Sometimes I use half wheat flour, as it adds a little nutty flavor.

Deviled Eggs

Today’s Craving: Deviled Eggs


Yes, this is a paper plate. I make no apologies for it.

I went off this recipe only I didn’t really measure, did everything to personal taste, and cooked way more than 6 eggs (not pictured).

1) Boil some eggs. I like the Alton Brown method of: submerge eggs in cold water, bring to rolling boil, then remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. Then plunge into ice bath, or run through cold water, or whatever your preference is for stopping the cooking process. I never end up with green edges on the yolk with this method.

2) Slice in half lengthwise, spoon yolks into small bowl, and mash away. Mix in:

  • mayonnaise
  • mustard (I like about a 2:1 ratio of mayo:mustard)
  • a few splashes of worcestershire sauce
  • a couple drips of Frank’s buffalo sauce (next time I will actually try adding more…I was surprised how much I liked this addition)
  • salt and pepper to taste

3) Fill your eggs. Piping is great for a neat, uniform presentation, but I was hungry. Spoon plopping works just as well.

4) Dust with paprika. Or cayenne for more kick!

Picture Dump

If you follow my Instagram (which I have dubbed “Food, Flowers, and Song”), some of these will be familiar.

The kids are up to their usual shenanigans, including costume parties, hacking Mama’s tablet, and stuff.


L-R: Blueberry Fairy Princess, Cowgirl, Popeye, and a Duck. They made their costumes by themselves (I helped a little with the yarn needs.)


They figured out how to take black and white photos. There were so many of them waiting for me…


Nothing says “summer” like your sister’s hat!


The most recent bouquet arrangement from Pokado. She’s a natural.

The weather is hot hot hot (100+ F for the next ten days, yuck), but even still it occasionally produces something worth going outside to see, like the biggest dust devil I’ve ever seen.



You see that brown field waaaay off to the left? That’s where it was. It’s not so clear here, but it goes all the way to the top of the photo. If I’d taken it just 3 seconds earlier, it would’ve been a lot fuller looking.

I am officially cooking again (thank you, 2nd trimester), and it’s so much more fun when one actually enjoys eating! The heat has turned my interest to cold things, grilling things, and anything not involving peanut butter sandwiches or scrambled eggs. (There is nothing wrong with peanut butter sandwiches or scrambled eggs. We’ve just had a lot of them recently. :-P)


Crepes with cream cheese filling + nectarines.


Masoor Dal and Baked Naan. Won’t bake naan again. It’s just not the same!


Okay, I didn’t bake this, but I was about to since it looked like the Dearliest couldn’t find any around town.


Last night’s dinner: I grilled for the first time in 7 years! There were no leftovers.


My Morning So Far

Before breakfast: Arc caught a cricket in the house, which led to the inevitable,”Mom! What do crickets eat?” (not the most appetizing thing to look up on an empty stomach)

During breakfast: Three children relayed the life cycle of salmon, at the end of which Arc piped up with the grande finale. “Yes! And then, when they jump up the waterfall, a BEAR grabs them with his paws and EATS them!” (not the most appetizing thing to hear when you’re eating)

After breakfast: Discovery of what we’re pretty sure is a praying mantis egg. Discovery of the Princess in the fridge with a spoon and a pot of leftover quinoa. (apparently she has an appetite)

It’s about to hit 9:30. Should be an interesting day.

July so far.

There was a birthday wherein the Princess turned 2.

There was a project wherein the Dearliest fabricated a bucket for his brother’s Dingo.


Then there was Independence Day, wherein we discovered Lounge Pokado.


And the Princess caught a chicken.


Those chickens…so lazy sometimes…


There was a weekend fishing trip, wherein the Deariest caught a 55″ sturgeon. There are pics floating around on Facebook but I don’t have any personally (yet).

Baby flutterings begin, and I smile secretly at what I feel that no one else can (yet).

My novel has started speaking to me again, from its dusty pile beside my nightstand. It’s been 4 months. Not sure where to start with it now.

The rest of the month is shaping up to be hot! We’ve broken 100 degrees a couple of times, with more predicted in the near future. Hopefully it’ll only last the average 2 weeks and taper off again. I still have vivid memories of 2 years ago, when we saw triple digits for 2 months. Would rather not repeat that!