Monthly Archives: March 2014

Gawker: Adam Lanza’s Father Speaks: “You Can’t Get Any More Evil”**MUST Read peeps!!**

Wow…I had heard on the morning shows that this interview was out & I really wanted to read it but figured since it was through The New Yorker it wouldn’t be free online. I was so pleased that the link at Gawker takes you to the free article! I proceeded to devour it & came away very thoughtful about viewpoints never before considered, and a bit haunted because of the tragedy & the “mystery” of the age old question “Why?”

Without getting too far into the situation, I do want to say that maybe his motive for choosing Sandy Hook was due to the fact it was the last real school he attended; from his Dad’s account he was beyond happy there; maybe somehow that got twisted in his ever increasingly sick mind & he didn’t want others to be happy? I don’t know, just a theory, like so many others. His Dad’s words are heartbreaking & his perspective truly leads you to question things beyond the normal realm of a situation like this. I was shocked-but also appreciative-of his candor & painful honesty. You can’t help but pity him as you realize how this has crumbled his life. And, as a side note, I’m bothered by the fact that he wouldn’t reveal Adam’s funeral arrangements, when such a big deal was made by the media about his body laying unclaimed for so long; I think also most of us prefer answered questions as opposed to mysteries.

Now, before I keep spoiling the article by raving about it, GO READ IT! Very informative, very emotional, most definitely worth your time (or else I wouldn’t recommend it). Then, when you’re done, come back & share your thoughts! I wanna know your opinions people! After that please feel free to share; many people may not know it’s available for free & will therefore miss out.

Gawker: Adam Lanza’s Father Speaks: “You Can’t Get Any More Evil” http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIw7qTEkgk

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Decepti-cookies! I mean…my sugar cookie adventure.

The other day I was in the mood for some sugar cookies which usually equates a long, drawn out ordeal because you have to roll & “powder” everything with flour & bake but wait you’re still not done because now you have to decorate them because we all know icing-less sugar cookies taste like ass. We’re in a period of transition right now, which in turn means most of our useful possessions are packed away & buried, impossible to find on a whim. Therefore my undertaking of sugar cookie baking was made even more difficult because I had no rolling pin. Or, for that matter, a recipe to go by (yes, my trusty recipe files are also packed away); never fear-there’s always the internet. I looked up an easy recipe that had lots of positive reviews, cute lil gold stars, delicious looking photos & didn’t require a lot of ingredients (which is always a clincher for me). My original intent was to pop out some sugar cookies (hereafter known as SC in this post because I’m tired of typing it out), decorate them & post the recipe links & photos, as usual when I make something scrumptious.

Except these cookies didn’t turn out scrumptious. And it’s not my fault (I don’t guess…)! Middle kid & I followed the directions to a T, even storing the dough in the freezer overnight (as the recipe recommended) despite the fact I was in the mood to make them right then. Anyway, the next day, we rolled them out (using a sealed bottle from the pantry…yep, that’s how thrifty we can be; it actually worked quite well) & cut circles (using a Mason jar ring but-you guessed it!-all of my cookie cutters are packed away; the jar ring actually worked quite well too though the cookies were a tad large; it’s awesome being southern & having handy crap like Mason jar lids lying around) in the dough-which we taste tested & it was good!-then baked them. Now, usually I’m a terrible cookie baker…even when I use a timer. It’s almost as if it’s just not in my genetic makeup to produce yummy cookies (which is why every holiday I do the cooking & my sister does the baking-there is a difference, people, between “cooking” & “baking”) so I was completely anal about these, checking on them & pulling them out when they looked their best & were turning a light brown; as the recipe advised, might I add. Cookies cooled, Oldest kid & I mixed up a glaze (using a recipe from the same site) that tasted like doughnut glaze-aka good-then proceeded to decorate these masterpiece SC!

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Meet my rolling pin stand-in, the bottle with brown liquid inside.

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Usung a top layer of plastic wrap helped cut down on the mess.
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Beautiful Mason jar circles & something I'm calling "sugar drops". (Aka: dough rolled into a ball, rolled in sugar.)
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Sugar drop close-up. These lil babies are pretty tasty!

I gotta admit, I was so frigging excited! I mean, my failure as a cookie baker is to the extent that C makes way way better cookies than I ever could. These suckers looked good! The dough had been good, the icing was good, they weren’t burnt. Win, win, win. We finally got to take that victorious “I’ve spent way too much time on this so let’s try one already dammit” bite and…

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These got browned a tad more than I meant to; I wasn't thinking about them being smaller. :/ BUT-the circle cookies were lighter than these, so surely they couldn't be overcooked?!

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You can see the level of brown-ness on the circle cookie & it (deceptively) looks perfecto.

It was like trying to bite pavement.
This cookie wasn’t gonna give; it would not break.
You could chuck one of ’em at somebody’s head & they’d at least suffer a concussion from it.
My disappointment was overwhelming. All that time, work, hope…I know, I know: it’s just cookies. But it still sucks. So I’ve decided not to share the links; not because I’m being petty & spiteful (“Waahh my cookies are harder than steel so I won’t share your site”), it’s because I’m not going to offer out a recipe that I can’t stand behind. Now, it’s entirely possible that *I* did something to cause this cookie travesty…too much dough kneading? too much flour? Which is why more testing is required; the recipe was easy & doesn’t take everything under the sun, so I’d like to add it to my files; if I can eliminate the problem.

I will however include the glaze icing recipe so that your time here today won’t be a total waste; plus it’s good, extremely easy & versatile.

Glaze Icing
1 c. Powdered sugar
4 tsp. Milk
Mix in small bowl with a fork until sugar is completely dissolved. If you want it thinner add more milk, if you want it thicker add more sugar. Any additions are recommended to be made 1 teaspoonful at a time, to prevent a mad scientist type of situation. My helper & I put some in bags, added some color, mixed it up well then cut the corner of the bag off (just a tiny piece!) to decorate. This icing does not make a lot by the original recipe so feel free to double if you’ve got a lot to ice. One last thing: wait for the icing to dry/set up before you stack & pack your cookies. It doesn’t take long; if you’re anything like me, leaving the cookies exposed to people walking through the kitchen (ie: stirring up dirt & hair, stealing cookies-boy they’ll get a surprise with these!) will drive you batshit but it’s gotta be done, otherwise you’ll have a gooey glued together cookie mound.

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Icing/glaze close-up, still wet.

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We used a knife to cut some shapes pre-baking.
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Oldest child did blue, I did green.
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Random.
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I really like Mr. Mad Face; he happened by accident.

So, not a total loss. Didn’t get a keeper SC recipe (yet) but acquired a new icing one. These cookies totally need to be renamed though…like “Decepti-cookies”…or something. My cleverness has fled the building.

Matchbooks: the economy’s downfall. **UPDATED 3/10/14**

Am I a raving lunatic?
No. I wouldn’t say lunatic exactly…
I just like things the way I like them. Back in high school when I was going through my anorexic-goth-drinking-moving-out-at-17 finding myself phase, one of my counselors diagnosed me with a touch of OCD. (I’m not quite sure how one only acquires a touch & not full blown-I mean, it is OCD you know-but that’s what she said.) So I blame my nit-pickiness on that, my Mom (just because she’s passed doesn’t mean her faults disappeared, I’m slowly discovering) & the anxiety disorder I believe I’ve picked up from the last year (waking up repeatedly night after night, heart racing, filled with worry & dread? And that’s just for starters? Oh yea, that qualifies as something).

Sometimes it’s a good thing, and sometimes…when I have extra time…it can be annoying. Like today, for example. C is notorious for stealing my lighter (or anyone’s, really, that is laying around) so I try to keep some matches handy because unfortunately our finger tips don’t produce fire. Therefore I count on them to work when I go to use them. I prefer the strong, big, box matches (or the mini version) over those suck-ass flimsy paper matches. C came Home with 2 heaping handfuls of the sucky ones the other day, because CVS decided to quit selling cigarettes like douches. So now not only do I have suck-ass matches but I have a lot of ’em. Ugh.

A funny thing about me is that when I go to use something, I expect it to work. Whether it’s a washing machine, or fish tank, or game controller…or a match. We smoke outside (see-we do love our kids!) & it’s been cold recently, so I don’t particularly enjoy standing around shivering while trying to light a cigarette. (I know, I know: you’re all “Well then quit smoking dumb ass” & I’m all “But I can’t”) What makes this situation even worse is when the match won’t strike. What. The. Hell. Twisting it, turning it, trying different spots on the little runway: nothing. Meanwhile, all lighters in the land have been lighter-napped to C’s pocket & he’s not nearby. So you don’t keel over from boredom I’ll get on with it; suffice it to say I finally managed to get a little  flame but had to hold it on the matchhead so I also got a little burn & then had to fight off the wind so it didn’t blow my little flame out. What a pain in my ass!

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I'm glad they appreciate me & all...

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Probably can't tell from the photo, but barely any scratchy striker strip!
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Match heads appear fine.

Needless to say it got me thinking about products and how much products have gone down in quality & up in expense; it got me thinking about how people could help this situation if they’d take the time to tell the companies. I’m not saying jump on the ‘puter & start sending stalker-ish hate emails to Old Navy or Del Monte…but if enough people have the same issues, the companies would notice & (hopefully) do something to improve. People have no idea how much power they really have, if we banded together.

But I digress. Back to matches. I’m figuring that the company figured out the least amount of striking strip that they could get away with using, and have the matches still work. More cost effective, right? But the thing is…it doesn’t work (I’ve tested this multiple times, I didn’t just have 1 failure, I had a failure every time) so, in my way of thinking, it makes the company look bad to me & I damn sure won’t buy/get their brand in the future.

But what if they don’t know?? So, I take the time to email the companies. Because I want better products. And I’m neurotic like that.

PS…still waiting to hear back from the Wright brand bacon masters. You know, the ones who charge $8 per pack but it was justifiable because it’s so effing delicious but the last few packs I’ve gotten have been FAT & I’m not paying out the wazoo for fat. (Shew…breath.) So, we’ll see what happens with that.

PPS…I tried several times to upload this with pictures but for some reason it kept giving me errors; therefore I am planning on deleting all pictures & attempting to upload yet again. It was just matches & bacon, who hasn’t seen matches & bacon before? (Except I was surprised & impressed at my camera’s rare ability to get some good close ups of the matches! Dammit.) **3/11/14: I’m a persistent brat…finally got them to upload!**

PPPS…I don’t know why but I thought some may want to read my helpful email to the matchbook company, so here it is verbatim (minus my full name & address):

Subject: Constructive criticism from a consumer

Hello,
I’m writing to let you know about a situation I encountered when using your product recently. I’m a firm believer that if people aren’t aware of a problem then they can’t fix it, so I like to give companies a chance to make it right & be aware that there are issues.

My husband recently brought home 2 handfuls of your matches; CVS was apparently off-loading them onto people since they’re going “tobacco free”. When I went to use one it wouldn’t strike/light. It was a brand new book, so the strip wasn’t all used up & full of bare spots. Try after try finally produced a flame & I figured “Meh, shit happens.” But then I tried again a little later (I’m a smoker, not burning down my neighborhood. Just wanted to clarify.) and had the same problem, different results. This time I got burnt because I had to hold the match by the head in order to get it to light. I’ll make it & everything, but it sucks AND if I was an idiot I could probably try to sue you (you know, how people try to sue McDonald’s for *hot* coffee?)!

So not only does this issue affect your product’s quality reputation, but it also opens you up to liability for losers looking for a quick buck. Now, I think we can all agree that the little books of matches are no match (pun intended!) for their big, boxed counterpart. However they should still work 88% of the time. My sense, not being in the match business, is that the striking strip needs more striking power. I don’t know what it’s made out of-glitter, sand, red clay dirt-but the matches seem to have enough “stuff” on their head to produce a sufficient flame, whereas the striking strip looks like someone just took a brown marker & swiped it across there. Hardly any texture, thick is the complete opposite of it…I don’t know if putting as little as possible on there is a cost effective move but as far as being a consumer of them goes…it sucks. And burns.

In closing, please know that I’m not bashing your product…I’m offering constructive criticism. Also, I probably veered off track too many times to warrant being taken seriously so please know that I’m a real person & this is a real issue, not some silly joke. Thank you for your attention!

Sincerely,
Heather

PS…please overlook any misspelled words & general incorrectness-it is not a sign of my incompetence but of my auto-correct’s over-zealousness.

**the end**

3/10/14:
I got an email response! She was very polite & eager to help. I get the feeling that she disregarded the humor in my email but at the same time didn’t take offense (hopefully). As a company should be, she was concerned enough about the problem to suggest sending me a paid envelope in order for me to send them the offending matchbook, along with any others I may have. That way they can look at them & determine what the issue is but she did say that I could be right & it seemed like the strike strip is the culprit. I felt they deserved an update because they’re making an effort to do the right thing, so they should get recognition for it…no matter how small the blog.

In related news, remember when I told the story about the Wright brand bacon? Well apparently they’re owned by Tyson, whom I received a letter from today. The pictures speak for themselves & serve as proof that if you have a legitimate issue, it just might be worth your time to tell ’em about it. Now that the coupon craze has died down & idiotspeople aren’t trying to just get free stuff all the time, maybe companies will be more willing to give out goodies to make up to consumers.

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I was like "What the whaa?" (Because I wasn't aware Tyson owned Wright)

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Their polite & professional response.
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Woot woot! $8!! Free bacon, bitches!

Gawker: A Letter From Ray Jasper, Who Is About to Be Executed

Wow. Shuffle off to a quiet corner & take the time to read this. This man is (surprisingly) well spoken & knowledgeable & has a lot of good points.

Gawker: A Letter From Ray Jasper, Who Is About to Be Executed. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwneLzuhk

Meatball Cups outta thin air……

This evening I found myself in the kitchen, mentally twirling the recipe carousel in my mind, searching for something I could make for dinner. I had 1 lb. of ground beef to work with. I’ll spare you all the boring details of what ideas were turned down because I lacked the ingredients (yes, I am way overdue to go actual grocery shopping)…eventually I landed on meatball cups.

What the hell is a meatball cup?! You ask.
A meatball cup is a fun way to convince your kids to eat meatloaf! It is a cheap go-to if you have a small amount of meat (like 1 lb,) & a big taste for meatloaf! It is an American classic with a modern twist & an interesting title that makes people wonder “What the hell is a meatloaf cup?!”. Simply put, it is meatloaf smashed into a muffin tin.
Here we go:

Meatloaf Cups
1 lb. ground beef (or more; 1 lb, only yields about 10)
breadcrumbs
1/4 c. milk (or water)
2 eggs (or egg whites)
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
BBQ sauce (ahem, KC Masterpiece Honey bbq sauce is my recommendation) or ketchup, whichever you prefer
1-2 muffin pans, depending on how much meat you’re using.

Now first we need to get a couple things straight:
1) ground beef shrinks
2) you should basically make this meatloaf in the way you typically would. The only difference comes with the shaping-instead of making a mound of raw meat you’ll be separating it into portions. My meatloaf recipe varies depending on what I have on hand (although apparently I manage to keep good form: I’ll never forget the time my Aunt complimented me by saying that my meatloaf “actually held together” & that hers never did) so just do what you’re used to.

Anyway…for me, I throw my raw beef into a bowl, then I add a couple eggs (or just egg whites…a good thing to keep on hand is:
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I know, it’s more of a “rich people” food but it comes in handy if you’re like me & forget to buy eggs but then you need one here or there; I have no idea how much this stuff is or where it can be found, this is courtesy of our house-mate), I add my spices-usually garlic & onion powders, seasoned salt, regular salt & pepper-then I start mixing it all together. If it seems a little “off” I’ll add a touch of water (or milk) here & there as needed. I also just eyeball the breadcrumbs…I could be wrong about this but the breadcrumbs serve to suck up the grease and to stretch the meat, so I add enough to cover those jobs but not so much that I’ll end up with a loaf of bread in the end.

Still with me? For some reason this post seems even more discombobulated than my posts usually do; Maybe because it’s been a lot of stop-go-stop-go. Thanks for hanging in there!

Okay, now once you’ve gotten your hunk of meatloaf mixed, take a normal dinner-ware sized spoon, scoop out some meat mix & start filling those muffin cups. Some meatloaf cup recipes end up putting mashed potatoes on the top but I’m going the quick & easy (read: lazy) route today; we’ll be topping these with BBQ sauce. Remember: ground beef shrinks (unless you can afford the fancy-schmancy lean beef…kidding, kidding) so don’t gip your eaters with the cups. I managed to get (almost) 11 & a couple were on the smaller side but hey, everybody ate dammit. You should end up with something like this:

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Yes, I did bbq all of them...

Next I pour some BBQ sauce into a measuring cup-so I don’t make a mess & the whole bottle plops out & drowns the meat-cups-and use the same spoon I scooped with to put enough sauce to cover each top. For those of you obsessed with measurements, I’d figure it’s about 1-2 Tbsp, if that. Place in a 350° oven for…about 30 minutes. I’m truly sorry; for me, cooking is something of a second nature now & I’m always forgetting to jot important info like times & measurements down so that I can input them on the blog. I just cooked mine until they were done, checked on them a couple times. You end up with:
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Ta-da! The dinner I pulled out of thin air.

A closer look at the meatloaf cup:
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They were delish! Granted I wish I would’ve had more meat so we could’ve had more cups, but the basis of this recipe was working with what I had on hand (I still have not been to the store! I definitely don’t get the Mom-of-the-week award this week…)

On a side note, I’ve heard of people using sour cream in their mashed potatoes to make them creamier. I happened to have a half a tub left so I decided to try it out as opposed to throw it out.
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I honestly didn’t notice a taste or texture difference, however because you can’t taste the sour cream, that’s exactly why you should sneak it in if you have it on hand…everyone can use some extra vitamins & all that, so just sneak it in there without telling anyone . 😉

Thoughts are welcome, ALWAYS.

Alert: it’s apparently still winter. (So bring on the vegetable soup!)

Unbeknownst to me, it is still winter. I was fooled into thinking spring had finally sprung when we had those glorious few days of warm, sunny, breezy weather. I broke out my flip-flops (well, not really…I never really packed them away but no, I didn’t walk through snow in them-what kind of dummy do you think I am?) & the kids ran free without jackets. It was a wonderful time, full of laughter and smiles and hopes for a plethora of sunshiny days ahead.

And now this.

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Admittedly, not the best snow picture ever. 2 things you should know about this photo: #1 It was not taken at night (unfortunately the camera fairy still hasn’t blessed me with a dslr); #2 There is a lot more snow than depicted. Not mountains, or even enough to coat the roads, but it’s flurrying hardcore (which is actually pretty if also unwanted).

Of course the kiddos were out today-news I relished at 6 a.m. when I realized I didn’t have to get up but somehow that news loses it’s charm halfway through the day & after 45 “Can I….?”.

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This latest snow assault puts me in the mood for something warm & filling for dinner. I’m hoping (if I can get C to go get the stuff) to turn to a family classic, my Mom’s Vegetable Soup. It holds a special place in my heart not only because it came from my momma, but also because it was the first thing I made C & I when we first started out; and because my sister asked me for the recipe, which makes me feel useful, traditional & generally warm-n-fuzzy. The list of great things about this recipe is not short:
*it’s cheap
*it’s easy
*it’s super versatile
*it’s freezable
*it’s comforting
*it’s semi-healthy
*it’s tasty
*it appeals to different taste buds
I could keep going but you’re probably bored to tears. This soup can be whatever you want it to be, really. You can use whatever vegetables you like, whatever meat you prefer; you can make it more tomato-y or more beefy tasting; you can make it overloaded with veggies or just a few. It’s totally customizable for those who are looking to start their own traditional family soup recipe.

Judy’s Old Fashioned Vegetable Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 lg (or 2 small) bag frozen mixed vegetables (sometimes labeled as “soup mix”)
1 small onion, sliced or diced
2-4 beef bouillon cubes (depending on your taste…I like a lot)
1 can whole tomatoes, undrained
1 can tomato sauce
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Water, as needed

1) In a medium skillet cook the ground beef over med-high heat. While beef is cooking, in a large pot add vegetables, tomatoes, seasonings & water (the amount of water you use will determine how much soup you end up with). Drain grease from meat well.

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Cooked, crumbled ground beef.

2) Add meat to soup pot; add salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste; put a lid on it & let it cook (aka turn fabulous) on low for one or two hours.
While cooking you can taste-test & add flavors accordingly. Since soup has so much water sometimes you have to add more seasonings than you’d normally use. Also, since it’s so versatile, you can add whatever would taste good to you:
Beef stock.
A ham bone.
Beans…cannellini (spelling?) or kidney or whatever!
You could use a different type of meat, like beef stew or cut up strip steak.
More tomatoes.
More vegetables.
Whatever…you…want.

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All together. Kinda gross now but not for long!

When it’s done melding flavors, serve piping hot with peanut butter crackers or sandwiches. Mmm-mmm good!!

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Dip that sandwich in & you're in 7th heaven!

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PS…sorry for posting a pic of my ice foot after a pic of that deiciousness-in-a-bowl…I took it specifically for the blog & felt bad leaving it out. 😉

PPS…this is one of those recipes that’s even better the next day! If you believe in leftovers, that is.

PPPS….feel free to add some pasta (elbow, ziti, the ABC pasta if you’re lucky enough to find it, whatever’s in the cabinet), just wait until the soup is hot/completely reheated so you don’t overcook the pasta & then it turns to mush. You may have to add some extra water also, depending on how much your pasta sucks up.

PPPPS….this apparently also makes good chow for pugs & mixed breed cats! Our 3 cats & 1 pug thoroughly enjoyed the remaining soup after we had leftovers with it. So, you’re welcome for that little tip.

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This princess currently has a furry belly full of warm, yummy, vegetable soup!

Stealing from other’s menus-Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

I am signed up for several different blogs/sites to send me their daily/weekly recipes & one of my favorites is Mommy’s Kitchen. The recipes usually meet my 3 goals:
Cheap
Easy
Tasty
I also use the monthly menu plans & various recipes to inspire our meals & get fresh ideas. In a way this could be considered stealing but then again that’s what they are meant for, so that sort of undermines the whole concept of stealing…you can’t “steal” what someone is giving you, eh?

Okay, so we recently tried:
Teriyaki Chicken Noodle Bowls & man were they good! I had gotten a huge pack of chicken leg quarters for $4, resigning myself to de-skinning/fatting/boning it all myself in order to save a few bucks (the prices on the packs of boneless skinless chicken are ridiculous!). Because of this, it took me awhile to make this but if you choose the easy route it shouldn’t take too long. This recipe is also versatile, which I like a lot; you can interchange the vegetables and/or pasta to whatever your favs are or whatever you have on hand. You can even switch out the noodles for quinoa or rice if you prefer. And let me just say…the leftovers the next day are delish! After the teriyaki sauce has had time to sink in?? Mmm-mmm! Click the Teriyaki Chicken link above (which takes you to another recipe site, not Mommy’s Kitchen, which you should still make sure to check out) for the full recipe with step-by-step instructions. Then, after you get your belly full, be sure to stop back by here & let me know your thoughts!!

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My meat prep.
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Look at that freshly deskinned shhhicken! 😉
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Saute the mushrooms & onions; what an amazing smell!
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Make sure to chop your veggies on the small side for easy eating.
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My teriyaki sauce as it is cooking.
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Almost finished!

I’m too much of a pig (& I’m compelled to eat when it’s hot) to remember to get photos of finished recipes, which is something I strive to remember but never fail to forget. No-finished-product-photo aside, just plop your noodles (or rice) in a bowl & top with the teriyaki chicken mixture, then enjoy!

Update
I just received a rare email from Kikkoman & there is a link to their version of a Teriyaki Shrimp Noodle Bowl; I thought I’d share it here because shrimp is amazing & it seems easy enough to make. You could double the teriyaki sauce you’re making, instead of using theirs. Just sayin’. Good luck!

*Updated & pics added!*Pizza Inn & California Pizza Kitchen copycat recipes: so good & so easy.

I couldn’t think of anything clever or cute to title today’s recipe post. “Super Saturday” would’ve worked but I like to tie in something about the recipe with the title. You know…”meat-y Monday”…the recipe was meaty…that sort of jinky stuff. So anyway, tonight we’re being copycats!

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Interior dining room of a Pizza Inn

Growing up there was a restaurant in our town called Pizza Inn. They’re a small franchise primarily on the east coast (as far as I know). They offer a buffet & regular menu and have all kinds of yummy stuff to eat: pizza, pasta, desserts, salads, breadsticks. In my mind (because it was the first place I’d ever heard of such a thing) they pioneered the much loved pizzert: dessert pizza! I remember being a teenager & calling them up (on my own line-God was I fancy!) for delivery of a small black-olive-extra-cheese-light-sauce pizza just for me…I felt so grown up. If you’ve never heard of or been to a Pizza Inn, I highly recommend you seek one out immediately…or at least stop in there if one pops up during your travels. You are totally missing out! They don’t skimp on the cheese (or toppings), they don’t over-sauce (blehh), everything is always fresh & clean (they constantly mind the buffet) & they’re unique and original; which brings us to tonight’s recipe.

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Buffet display. The BLT pizza is hanging out in the back, towards the top. Notice the hamburger pizza complete with pickles!
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O. M. G. Some pizzerts-the best actually-cherry pie & chocolate chip!

I had many favorites growing up but my #1 had to of been their BLT pizza. I also loved regular ol’ mushroom & sausage, chicken fajita, pepperoni, & pretty much all of the pizzerts (cherry pie, chocolate chip, cinnamon struesel, some kind of cheesecake-like invention, chocolate pudding…ok, I’ll stop). As a child I couldn’t really figure out how the BLT pizza came to be, but I knew that because it’s a hot food item, the lettuce & tomato should’ve been limp & icky…but it wasn’t! Naturally, as an adult, the lightbulb has gone off & I realize it’s all done after the pizza cooks. (Duh!) Even the mayonnaise.

Yes. I said mayonnaise. You can’t have a BLT without mayonnaise, can you?? Some people don’t have the pickiness I do when it comes to mayo. Me personally, I have to be in the mood to be able to eat mayonnaise. Ridiculous, I know. But such is my life. SO! If you have the same affliction no worries…you won’t have to eat cooked mayo & you won’t use a lot of it.

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A couple of reviews from my hometown Pizza Inn.

If you have any reservations I’m asking you to put them aside…this pizza is amazing if you give it a chance. I’ll admit, the only reason I ever tried it is because when I first saw it I thought it was a taco pizza (which they do have, incidentally, and is also good!)…I would’ve totally missed out on the yummy awesomeness if I’d known it had mayo, which is totally crazy!

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Pizza Inn (copycat) BLT Pizza

1 cheese pizza (small/medium/large-your choice)
Wedge of lettuce, chopped
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 pkg bacon, cooked, crumbled/chopped
1 bag of cheese (your choice/mozzarella/pizza blend/etc) *optional
1/2 c. mayonnaise

1)  First, bake the pre-made cheese pizza according to package. When done remove from oven & allow to cool slightly.
2)  Using a spatula or spoon spread a (thin, for me) layer of mayo over entire surface of pizza. You can use as much or as little as you like; the measurement is basically a reference.
3)  Evenly sprinkle lettuce, tomatoes, bacon (& cheese if using) over entire aurface.
4)  Cut the pizza with a pizza cutter or large knife, serve & enjoy!

In addition to the BLT pizza, I’m also going to make a copycat California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken pizza & Pizza Inn’s Chocolate Chip pizzert. Both recipes are super easy & don’t require much time or many ingredients.

For the CPK BBQ pizza, cook a pre-made cheese pizza (you can make pizza from scratch; using a pre-made is in the interest of saving time) then top with chopped, cooked BBQ chicken, sliced red onions & mozzarella cheese; pop back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the mozzarella is melted.

For the pizzert you need 1 can of Pillsbury thin pizza dough; lightly press it onto a pizza pan (Pizza Inn uses small, I use a cookie sheet); melt 1 stick of butter & add it to 1 pkg Jiffy cake mix, blend well; spread cake mix over dough making sure to reach the edges; sprinkle semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 6 oz/half a bag) all over before baking at 400° for 11-15 minutes.

Like always….let me know if you try any of these & what you think!!

Update!
Okay y’all, it took me & the Middle child awhile but the end result was worth the wait! (It usually takes me awhile when trying a new & unfamiliar recipe because I get distracted easily so don’t worry…it probably won’t take you as long!) Here are some mouth watering pics for you to salivate over & be inspired to recreate in your kitchen!

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Early stages of the chocolate chip pizzert...dough spread & cake mix being added.
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Final step done: chocolate chips! (We added extra)
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Bada-bing-bada-boom! It's done & smells fantastic!
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It grew a bit more than I expected but that's ok...gives it character.
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Some of the ingredients you'll need...good luck keeping your fingers outta the bacon!
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Start with a regular ol' cheese pizza.
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BBQ Chicken pizza (before additional cheese)
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BBQ chicken pizza after 2nd run through the oven.
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I know-grossest photo ever. BUT...if you can get through this step (pizza+mayo) you'll be rewarded with an awesome tasting pizza!
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I believe in adding a lot of topping when we do homemade pizza, since the pizza places always skimp you.
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Finished BLT pizza-ready to cut & eat!
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2 of the overall 5 satisfied customers! The boy (who is notorious for not eating) said he loved the bbq pizza!

Lady and the Tramp Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Technically any spaghetti can be called “Lady & the Tramp” spaghetti, but it’s one of my absolute favs from Disney so I thought I’d share the “official” Disney version. Plus the featured pictures are adorbs!

Disney’s Lady & the Tramp Spaghetti & Meatballs

If you try it, as always, let me know your thoughts!