Saturday, December 18, 2010

the love handles cometh

i've learned something about myself this week. i've learned that when i'm really sad, i make jokes. when my stress level is way up high in the sky, i dig into myself and dredge up something to throw out at the world to distract myself & hopefully distract anyone who's looking, from the fact that my heart feels really bad.

take my last post, for example. that was my way of telling you that we won't be able to go home for christmas this year to see our families. my honey works retail management & being that it's the busiest time of the year, his company decided to open a new store on christmas eve & take a bunch of employees from the stores in the area that are already open & leave the older stores short handed. meaning, no days off except christmas day, not leaving enough time for a 6 hr trip.

i don't get to see my family very often. i love and cherish them and enjoy all the time i get to spend with them, but this year, we'll be spending the holidays alone. just like thanksgiving. our families are sad too that we won't be there with our big mouths to liven things up. damn, writing this is making me cry again.

one of my favorite parts of being home around christmas is that both of our moms cook & bake up a storm & they gear their meal plans toward the things that we love. we get to make requests & there's more than enough food for all the days we're there, even if we eat 5 meals a day. i don't have to lift a finger if i don't want to, though i almost always clean up even if i don't help prepare. i don't really like to cook, but i sure do love some home cooked meals.

i guess i'm going to have to do the cooking myself this year because it's not going to feel like christmas if we eat cold cereal for breakfast, frozen pizza for lunch and hamburger helper for dinner. i don't know what i'll make yet, but in the spirit of cooking up some cheer, i made my first attempt at peanut butter balls. and i've got to tell ya, they're freakin awesome. they even came out looking pretty, which is an added bonus.

i also made something tonight that i just love because, well, first of all, it tastes really good, but also, it's pretty and makes my house smell fantastic when it's baking. it's a squash & quinoa casserole.

i'm going to make pumpkin muffins in a few days for chris since he loves them and it's the least i can do to make him feel better during this crappy work season.

so pretty much, what i'm trying to tell you is that i'm drowning my sorrow in food. i can feel my love handles growing as i type this. by the time new years rolls around, i'm likely to be wearing only my fat pants due to seam rippage on anything without a hefty dose of spandex.

UPDATE: for anyone who wants them, here are the recipes for the peanut butter balls and the quinoa casserole.

peanut butter balls
1/2 lb. whipped butter (2 sticks & then whip them when they're soft)

1 cup peanut butter
16 oz powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
cream together and then freeze for about 20 min in the bowl. once the dough is fairly stiff, you can put a little powdered sugar onto your hands to keep them from sticking while you roll them into balls. put them back into the freezer.
over a double boiler (simmering water in a pot w/ a glass or metal bowl sitting on top of that) melt
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1/8 lb (or less) household paraffin wax cut into small pieces for easier melting (sounds gross to cook with wax, but, they're tasty & pretty).
once that's all melted, let it cool for a few minutes so it's not quite so soupy.
dip all the balls & put onto waxed paper & with any chocolate left over, drizzle it across the tops to make them look fancy.
keep them in the freezer or fridge.

quinoa casserole   (this recipe had chicken in it, but i make it without, so here's my version.)
1/4 cup wild or long grain brown rice
1/4 cup quinoa
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
2-3 carrots, chopped
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp dry sage or fresh is good too, but use more.
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs. i like to use parsley, thyme, basil, rosemary. whatever i have on hand.
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbs butter
oven 350. in a non-stick skillet, over med-high heat, cook dry rice & quinoa with 1 tsp of oil, stirring frequently until they turn golden. about 8-10 min.
in a big, glass baking pan (11x7 or 9x13) combine everything but the cheese, bread crumbs & butter and stir. cover and bake for 50 min.
while it's baking, melt the butter & then mix it with the cheese & crumbs.
after 50 min, uncover & add the topping. bake approximately 10 more minute or until liquid is absorbed.


  1. So sorry you won't be spending Christmas with your family, but at least you and you hubby will be together. And those peanut butter balls look awesome! I want some! lol

  2. i'm sorry sweetie.... big big *HUGS*

  3. Yes, I expect there will be a few tears at both ends this year. I have boo-hooed over you guys having to be alone this year as much as sadness over you not being with us. So stuff yourself with goodies, keep making jokes, and know that this too shall pass and there will be another Christmas with more opportunities to be together and eat my food that you don't have to cook. I love you.

  4. And - oh yes - your food photos are superb!

  5. Spandex was made for Christmas! LOL

  6. I'm not commenting on the damn peanut butter balls again, okay? But that casserole looks really good.

    Retail is keeping me from doing Christmas with my fam, too. It blows! Pass me a peanut butter ball!

  7. just like me! eat to fill the void. oh, dear. will you share that squash and quinoa recipe? looks delicious! I'm missing my mom, too, and her cooking. I'm sorry you won't see your family, it's hard to be without family on the holidays.

  8. Sorry you didn't get to see your family. That must be so hard. On the bright side, the baking looks delicious!

  9. i cannot wait to make all of this, i am hungry!wow....hate i missed this post last year! :D better late than never! danke!


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