Monday, August 25, 2014

Stupid Easy French Dips....and Let's party, cause it's my Birthday!

I had never made French Dip Sandwiches.  The husband really enjoys them and I quite like them, but the very idea of making roast beef and slicing it thin and then making the au jus?!?  Was beyond me.  I mean, what exactly is jus? Well, that all changed last week when I had a little birthday celebration with the family. And by little, I mean my whole crew was there.  Grandparents, siblings, nieces the whole works!  I had a lot of people to feed and this was the perfect thing to make.

Easy French Dip
These sandwiches were a hit!  Unless you ask my kids, and they don't count because they hate everything they've never had before.

What is this?

We're supposed to dip it in WHAT?!?!

I don't like melted cheese.

Where's the mustard?

Why is it French?

I hate onions.


Uggggh!  Children!  They really are tasty and I'm sure after I've forced these on my kids another couple of times, they'll come to like them also.  I think.

For everybody else who likes anything tasty, these are so good and so, so easy.  Also, if you shop at Costco, I bought everything there except for the soup mix.  These are perfect if you're cooking for a crowd or it's just another busy school night because prep work is almost nil.  I mean, even the cheese is pre-sliced!!!

French Dip Sandwiches  Courtesy of my...maybe 2nd cousin twice removed?  Annette
Servings: 6

1.25 lbs Deli Roast Beef
Sandwich Rolls
Provolone cheese, sliced
Caramelized onions
Lipton Beefy Onion soup mix
Butter

Simply throw the soup mix into a pot, add the required amount of water and bring to a simmer.  Toss in the roast beef and let it simmer until the rolls are toasted and meltsy.

Slice rolls in half, butter them.  Toast until gold brown.  Throw on a slice of provolone cheese and put back under broiler unto they are nice and gooey.

Top toasted roll with a couple slices of roast beef.

Optional: Caramelized onions.  These are so good, they really add something to the sandwiches.  Simply slice onions thin, cook in butter, a touch of olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste over med-low heat for about 20 minutes until they are golden and caramelized.

Dish the broth into individual bowls and commence the dipping and devouring.

Also, as it was my birthday, I got this.  Yup.  That's my favorite cake, also from Costco.  So chocolately.  So delicious.  This post is not sponsored by Costco...but dang it, it should be!

Well, this is what happens when you tell your eight year old she can take the birthday pictures.  hehe I'm not sure even one was in focus.  We have a tradition in my house where the kids have to use what we already have and either make me something or find something they think I really, really love and wrap it up so I can unwrap it. They did a great job this year.  I got a beard hat.  Some paper to make telescopes out of.  Pin Cushion.  A game invented by my daughter using Easter eggs, some random toy and a bead.  And a thimble.

Sure love these kids!
Thanks for reading!

Heather

Monday, August 18, 2014

What happens when you get bronchitis...

It's the worst, whenever it rains it pours.  I normally see this as just a fluke in the cosmos and let it slide off my back and get on with life.  But sometimes, it's not so easy.  One bad thing happens, so now you're in a mood.  Add to that another bad thing and that brings you down a bit more.  If you keep adding things, you could definitely get a complex that somebody is out to get ya!

I am normally a look on the bright side of life kind of person. After all, I love Monty Python and The Holy Grail.  "I've 'ad worse."  "What are you gonna do, bleed on me?"  "She turned me into a newt...I got better." And just one more, "You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you."  But then I got bronchitis.  And then it morphed into bronchitis with a side of sinusitis for good measure.  And then this happened...

That's right.  And it's my own dang fault too.  I was the culprit who spit the gum into her bathroom garbage. I should have known better as I am also the owner of the devious creature known as, Ginger, who likes to sneak into my bathroom and devour all the tasty goodness she can find there.  Then to add insult to injury, it wasn't just sitting there on top of the carpet, no, somebody had stepped on it to really stick it in there good and proper.  sigh

As you can imagine, by now my life was feeling like a blasted tempest had parked right over me, but I did what any gal would do: I pulled up my big girl panties, and sought my computer for its best advice.

I was a little bit afraid I would find information recommending what my Mom did to me at about age 8 when I slept with a wad of gum in my mouth and it ended up in my hair.  cough cough.  It would have been just perfect and would have added considerably to my bad mood if I had had to put a chunk of peanut butter on my carpet and needed to rub it in real good to break up the gum.  Luckily the fates were on my side.  Freeze it out, all the sources said.

Of course, you can buy a can of freeze-y stuff like the janitors use in schools, but I have freakin' bronchitis/sinusitis.  You really want me out driving while little children are playing in their yards?  I would surely have a vicious coughing spell that would only add to the foggy brain thing I've got simultaneously going on.  Bad combination if I'm driving somewhere.  Ice cubes to the rescue.

I made sure to cover the gum completely with ice and added bit extra on the sides to get the carpet good and cold as well.  Let it sit for a just a minute, I didn't want the ice to melt at all as I feared the gum would get soggy and stickier.  Removed the ice cubes and VOILA!  The gum was nicely cold and stiff.  I just pulled it straight off.

Maybe I should say that my gum was of the cinnamon/sugarless variety.  Just in case this method is variety specific.  I dunno.  All I know is I felt much better about life in general after this little win.  Then I went back to hacking my lungs out and misery engulfed me all over again.  I have a very short attention span and mucus makes it even worse.  Although, I will confess to one little thing making me smile just a bit and helping me through my grossness:  The fact that I had chewed my gum into a very particular-looking shape.

For the ladylike out there, I apologize.  I love Pride and Prejudice, but I also like The Pink Panther starring Steve Martin and Beyonce.

Okay, Okay, one more.  I just gotta...

King Arthur: Old woman
Dennis: Man.
King Arthur: Man, sorry.  What knight lives in that castle over there?
Dennis: I'm 37.
King Arthur: What?
Dennis: I'm 37.  I'm not old.
King Arthur: Well, I can't just call you man.
Dennis: Well you could say "Dennis".
King Arthur: I didn't know you were called Dennis.
Dennis: Well, you didn't bother to find out, did you?
King Arthur: I did say sorry about the "old woman", but from behind you looked...

Oh snap.  Laughing makes me cough more.

Hope everyone has a nice day.

Heather

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How the Hearth does Camping....actual camping

I am going to start this post with the most vital piece of our camping puzzle.

The outhouse.  And when I say outhouse....I mean OUTHOUSE.  This thing is legit.  For real.  No foolin'.  I mean, I am actually afraid of falling in this puppy never to return.  Well, not really, I'm pretty sure if I fell in, sooner or later somebody would have to use the facilities and would find me. 

Rustic.

Old timey.

Torn up pieces of an old Sears Roebuck catalog for T.P.  I'm wondering if I can still order one of those permanent machines from them...

I actually spent a good portion of my nights (1 am....5 am...finally 7 am, phew, you can go on your own) hiking up here as My Oldest has a bladder the size of a dime and I don't want to restrict her from staying hydrated at 10,000 feet above SEA LEVEL!  Oh yeah.  If you need to practice breathing techniques to get to Everest, this is where you go.  I would whistle as we walked.  No sense running into a bear or coyote as we're going to the facilities.

And I'm just saying, if these fellas are up here, you KNOW there are other things that I just can't see.  Shhh, don't tell the kids.  I assured them there were no bears.  Then I made sure to clear the tent free of any candy or food of any sort...just in case.  About the deers, yes, deers.  We saw these two fellas several times and at one point I was probably 20 feet away from one of them.  If only I had my camera out.  Face smack. 

How we cooked.  To be fair we also had our gas stove up there and used it once or twice.  Ummmm...a thing about lighting charcoal.  Bring a chimney.  My buddy and I were sent up to cook while the menfolk fished...and we had to light these ourselves...without the intuitive knowledge that men have regarding fire and food.   They weren't the briquettes that already have lighter fluid in them, either.  Nope.  I am pretty sure we went through an entire newspaper and several paper towels trying to get the dang things to light.  Then on top of that we used about 4 times more briquettes than we needed, JUST TO MAKE SURE!  And then on top of that, we tried to chop wood ourselves to make kindling to help get the fire going to help get the charcoal going....with an ax. An ACTUAL ax.  

Yeah....so I at least didn't attempt to cut my thumb and toe off like my faithful assistant....who is pregnant. gulp.  That coulda been bad, real bad. After she ummmm...did her chopping attempt, I took over and I'm pretty sure I had about the same amount of force a newborn kitten would have when striking ax to wood. Very effective.  

In case you are worried we starved this night, have no fear, somehow we got the charcoal to light and enjoyed a lovely dinner.  Many, many hours later.  All appendages still accounted for.

Where we were.  Pretty.

How we mountain manned up.   Yup, it's the machete again.  You have no idea how handy a machete is to a man.  In all things.  Constructing shelves, camping, fending off wild forest beasts...

What we did for fun.  The regular fish fishing wasn't great.  But the crayfish (crawdad?) fishing was AWESOME!!  I had no idea you could catch a crayfish on a fishing pole, turns out you can.  

We have at least 6 in there and they were sure fun to look at...but NOT touch. We had at least one pinching/throwing of the crayfish incident.  

Disclaimer....
No crayfish were killed during this camping adventure.  Flung at a mom who was trying to take a picture at the time and then dropped on the ground...maybe.  But we're catch and release kinda people.  At least this time.

Sweet child of mine, smile for the camera. 

Don't wiggle.

Smile normal.

No laughing.

With teeth.

Child!

This is no time for fun!!

TAKING PICTURES IS SERIOUS BUSINESS!!!

Phew.  Thank you.

What a fun time.  In addition to all of the above, there was BB gun shooting, bow and arrow shooting, applying of mass quantities of bug spray, frog catching, butterfly catching, playing in the swamp, more applying of bug spray, running and playing wolves, bike riding, hiking and deer spotting.

Thanks for reading!

Heather

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