Easter, baby

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What a gorgeous Easter Sunday! We skipped the honey baked ham and cheesy potatoes in favor of a salad with grilled chicken, chopped bacon, cherry tomatoes and avocado — a sort of Chicken BLT salad. I made a fab herby buttermilk ranch dressing to go with it. It’s Pioneer Woman’s recipe but I subbed tarragon for oregano because I love tarragon, and omitted the Worcestershire because sometimes it can be overpowering.

Greta is guinea pig-sitting (see Carmel above). She desperately wants one.

And, it was 14 years today. RIP dad. Miss you.

Happy Easter everybody.


Tamale pie


I saw Pioneer Woman make this tamale pie on a stark winter day in Oklahoma a week or so ago. I’ve never made one before but it turned out to be pretty easy and very good. And let’s face it: anything you can pile cheese, sour cream and guacamole on typically goes over well in this house.

Here’s the recipe on Food Network.

I changed a few things: one, after reading some other tamale pie recipes online, I added about half a teaspoon of cinnamon to the ground beef when I added the traditional Mexican spices. I also used a traditional cornbread mix instead of masa. Lastly, I didn’t have beef broth, so I just used water (it was only a cup and I mixed it with the tomato paste).

I made it the night before and stuck it in the fridge overnight. Then it goes in the oven right in the cast-iron skillet. I use Barrak’s mom’s cast-iron skillet. It’s one of my most-used kitchen tools.


Before and After: TV move


Today we moved the TV above the fireplace to make room for some furniture coming later this spring. I didn’t think I’d like it — too much neck-craning and potential for forehead wrinkles. But I really like it. It was too big for the media cabinet it had been sitting on, in retrospect. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the big open wall left behind. And I might buy some retinol, just in case.


Hi Giada! Don’t worry, Pioneer Woman: I’ll still watch you too.


Before and After: Kitchen pendants 


We’ve had these kitchen pendants since the day we moved in 7+ years ago. Definitely something the builder picked out. For some reason I always assumed it would be expensive and a big pain in the ass to change them out.

Today, we finally upgraded to these rustic pendants from Pottery Barn. Dan of All Trades installed them for a small fee. To me, they make a huge diff.


Now if only we could change out the countertops, cabinets, sink and flattop stove.

As my Uncle Jerry would say with no small trace of sadness in his voice: Another time…