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Pasta Rustica with Goat Cheese

January 4, 2017

Moose suggested I have a shot at making a version of Penne Rustica.  It was super tasty and multiple friends asked that I share the recipe.  This is an approximation, so hopefully I didn’t forget anything important.

1 pound chicken thighs, diced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound thick sliced prosciutto, diced

1 pound bow tie or penne pasta

4 TB olive oil
2 TB minced garlic
1/4 cup marsala wine
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
8 ounces herb goat cheese
1/2 cup goat milk

1 cup grated manchego

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add the olive oil and garlic to a sauce pan over medium heat.  If using fresh garlic, allow it to sweat for a few minutes.  Add marsala wine, salt, and pepper.

Add the diced chicken to the sauce pan.  Saute until just cooked, then remove chicken from pan, leaving the juice.

Saute the shrimp in the broth until just cooked and then remove shrimp from pan.

Cut small chunks of the goat cheese into the broth and whisk the chunks until smooth.  Add the goat milk and prosciutto.  Reduce to low heat and allow to simmer.

Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.  Stir in sauce and blend until coated.  Add chicken and shrimp.

Pour mixture into a 5L casserole dish.  Cover with grated manchego cheese.  Cook in oven 15 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Pokemon Go I Learned From Playing Ingress

July 12, 2016

So, Pokemon Go has come out.  And it’s popular.  Like, super popular.  A lot of people are running around trying to Catch ‘Em All, and some of y’all are going to catch some serious injury in the process.  As a former Ingress player (the game that Pokemon Go is based on), allow me to pass on some of the important things I learned while playing.

Pack For The Journey

If you’re not used to long walks in the park, you’ll need to plan ahead.  Wear a hat, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes.  Bring water, a couple of snacks, and SUNSCREEN.  Seriously.  If you haven’t spent a whole lot of time in the sun, lather up.  Especially if you decline to wear a hat and are one of those people who shave their head.  Scalp sunburn sucks.  If you don’t like water, there are a variety of water flavorings you can pick up which are both portable and tasty.  Some are even caffeinated for your convenience.  Headphones will help you stay in touch with the game without bothering those around you.  And consider investing in a portable power pack or solar charger.  If you’re going to be out and about, you might as well maximize your play time.

Do Not Drive and Play

If you decide you need to get around a little faster than walking will allow, biking, skating, and skate boarding are all awesome ways to speed up your travels.  Whatever you do, DO NOT play while driving.  Playing in a car requires a two person team.  One to drive, and one to navigate/poke the phone.  Yes, this does mean that occasionally the navigator might miss a score because they were trying to poke two phones at once.  Trade off.  And for fuck’s sake, don’t stop the car in the middle of the road to snag a drop.  Pull off to the side.  Park.  Play.  Move on.

Do Not Play in Traffic

There is NOTHING worth running into traffic for.  I don’t care how rare the drop is, it’s not worth it.  The range of your toon is more than far enough to stand off to the side and pick up whatever it is.


Stay out of private property.  Be mindful of curfews.  Don’t climb over walls, don’t sneak into buildings, don’t go anywhere that you’ll have to have a conversation that starts with “Well, you see officer…”  Yes, most police departments in the country are fully aware of the insane game everyone is currently playing.  But “I was just trying to catch Pikachu” is not going to fly as a defense.

Situational Awareness.  Get You Some.

Are you a lone adult male hanging around a playground full of small children?  Are you in a cemetery while a funeral is going on?  Are you some place where you should be observing respectfully instead of playing with your damn phone?  Stop.  Think.  Don’t be an asshole.

Play Nice

No matter what, remember that it’s just a game.  A little friendly competition is all well and good, but don’t mistake a hit in the virtual world as a blow in the real world.  The other players are people, too.  Treat them with the respect that they deserve.  Even if they did choose the wrong team.

Keto Salmon Croquettes

June 18, 2016

A salmon croquette is kind of like a crab cake.  Normally they’re fried, but baking makes them much less greasy.  The nice thing about this recipe is that you can add all sorts of herbs and spices to the mix.

1 5 oz bag of chicharrones, crushed [1]
3 2.5 oz packages of salmon or 1 6 oz can of salmon (not in water)
3 eggs
1 Tbs Pecan oil
1 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs minced garlic
3.5 oz goat cheese [2]
1 Tbs cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste [3]

Pre-heat oven to 375

Lightly spray the bottom of a glass dish with oil or cooking spray. Use a 8×8 pan for large patties, or a 11×17 pan for smaller patties.

Blend all ingredients into a bowl.  Your hands work best for this process.

Form into 4 large patties or 8 smaller patties. Large patties should be no more than an inch thick.

Cook times:
20 minutes for large patties
10 minutes for smaller patties

Patties should be lightly crispy on the outside and still moist on the inside.  Serve with a nice dark green veg like spinach or broccoli for a filling keto meal.


[1] Minus the half dozen or so the toddler begged.
[2] I like to get goat cheese crumbles, as they’re easier to blend.
[3] Bear in mind that chicharrones are pretty salty to begin with,

Mac and Cheese Faceoff

May 29, 2016

Moose made mac and cheese for Acorn while I was napping, so I figured this would be a good time to try the mac and cheese Wit recommended. The grocery store closest to our new place has a pretty extensive selection of dairy free and gluten free products, which is exciting. I’ve been trying all the frozen stuff for quick lunches with the kiddos, but this is the first time I’ve had an opportunity to do some actual cooking. So without further ado…

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese


Daiya Cheezy Mac

(As of this writing, the Daiya website appears to be non-functional, so here’s a link to Amazon in the meantime.)


On the left, Daiya Cheezy Mac, Deluxe Cheddar Flavor (with added bacon).  On the right, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Original Flavor (with added ground beef).

This is a somewhat unfair face off to begin with, since the Kraft is a powdered cheese sauce, while Daiya is a liquid cheese pouch.  There is a noticeable difference in the texture of the cheese sauce.  It would probably be a fairer comparison to use a more expensive macaroni and cheese products, such as Velveeta, but Kraft is what I tend to keep in stock for Moose and Acorn, so Kraft it is.  The noodles are also very different in quality, again probably due to how much more expensive Daiya is.

The Moose Taste Test was a pleasantly surprised “Huh.  It’s oddly smokey.”  He attributed this to the added bacon, but I pointed out that the cheese itself is kind of smokey, and he said that might be what he was tasting.  When I asked if he would have guessed the Daiya was a gluten free, dairy free product, he took a moment and decided “Probably not.  Especially not with bacon in it.”

As for me, I’ll definitely be getting more of this.  It’s been years since I’ve eaten mac and cheese that I didn’t prepare from scratch.  It was nice to make a quick, easy lunch that didn’t taste like a substitute.  It’s certainly not going to completely replace Kraft on our shopping list.  The price difference alone means it’s too expensive to feed the notoriously picky toddler.   Besides, it was very tasty and I didn’t want to share.

Long Walks and Longer Naps

May 5, 2016

We went for a walk this morning. Well, I went for a walk. Acorn went for a ride in the stroller and P’khan dangled from the Baby Bjorn. I should probably get a double stroller soon if we make this a regular thing. It’s getting too hot to wear him for long periods. Although he does make a great exercise weight.

We made it about halfway to the park (3/4 of a mile or so) before I decided we should probably turn back. My current post baby exercise goal is to be able to walk to the park with my kids. Eventually I want to be able to ride my bike with the kids in a tow trailer, but walking is pretty much my highest speed at the moment.

I probably shouldn’t have gone quite that far, since I almost didn’t make it back, but I felt really proud of myself just for making it to that distant corner. I stopped more frequently on the way back, but used the time to point out birds and flowers and butterflies for Acorn. She was pretty hot and cranky by that point, so she was unimpressed.

We didn’t actually make it to the park. If Moose had been home, I probably could have pushed on and just had him come rescue us. But we did get out for a bit into the world outside of our back yard. Which I call a win. And then we came home and all took 2 hour naps. Which is also kind of a win.

My Toddler Is A Cat (Pt 2)

May 3, 2016

– Whatever side of the door she’s on is the wrong one.

– Has accidentally closed herself in the bathroom more than once.

– The red dot is both fascinating and scary. It must be caught.

– No roll of toilet paper is safe.

– Knows the exact spot in the foyer where piteous wails will echo through the whole house.

– Will cheerfully ignore both Mommy and Daddy’s request for cuddles, but the moment there’s food involved, it’s all smiles and sweetness.

– Mommy and/or Daddy must be watching before things can be knocked over.

– Has a sixth sense for when Mommy or Daddy will need to get up soon, so that she may plop down in our lap.

– Likes to lick plastic.

Free Audio Books or How Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Local Library

April 30, 2016

I listen to a lot of audio books.  What started out as a way to help me get to sleep became a constant companion.  I listened to them when I drove, when I worked, while I did chores… Pretty much any time I had time to myself that didn’t require my full attention.  When I worked for the university, there were thousands of audio books to choose from in the library. There was a while there where I would go down the shelf in the fiction section and pick up anything that looked interesting.  Which for me pretty much covers any book whose description doesn’t start with “Former CIA agent Author McSelfinsert…” [1]

Now that I’m a stay at home mom, the library I have access to is considerably smaller.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that both floors of little public library here in town would fit in just one of the six floors of the main university library.  Then again, the university library didn’t have a weekly story time, either.  Or maybe it did and I just never knew about it.  Anyways.

I went to the library in part for the story time, and in part with the hope of picking up more audio books. Imagine how thrilled I was upon signing up for a library card to also get a card with information about Overdrive.

If you haven’t heard of Overdrive, let me tell you how awesome it is. It’s an app on your phone that is like having a pocket public library. It has both e-books and audio books. The only limit is what your own local library has access to at the time.  And if they don’t have what you’re looking for, you can do a search to see if it’s available in the Overdrive system and recommend your library pick it up.  Thus far, it’s taken anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to get a book I’ve recommended, but none have been denied.

There is the draw back that you only get to keep the books for two weeks before they expire.  And there’s no keeping it from going back into rotation if you’re not done with it. Which is no big deal if the book isn’t popular. You can just go back and check it out again.  But if it is… you may have to wait two weeks before you get it back again.  Or more. Fortunately the program saves your place and any bookmarks you have made.

The best part for me? The app has a sleep function.  So I can still use it for helping me get to sleep at night.  Whether or not it works all depends on the book.


[1] The book store I used to work for called these “Men’s Adventure” novels.  They always stared a ruggedly handsome former CIA agent who traveled around the world solving international terror plots and getting into bed with beautiful mystery women who may or may not have been spies for the KGB whose loyalties were swayed by the power of his penis.  This section was between “Horror” and “Romance.”