Hoo boy, we gotta take a minute and talk about that interview…

I’m not going to link directly to Gwynneth Paltrow’s terrible interview about eating, because I don’t want to give it more oxygen, but if you saw it and it didn’t set off alarm bells or it has you reconsidering your eating habits – just stick with me here for a minute.

First, I am not a dietician or nutritionist – but I love food, I feel like I have a fairly healthy relationship to food and eating, and at least a little common sense.

Iced coffee for breakfast, bone broth for lunch, veggies for dinner, and IV’s for nutrients you can ALREADY GET IN FOOD – well, that ain’t it, kids.

Yeah, coffee isn’t breakfast, we’re pretty much all guilty of treating it that way – I know I am, so I’ll give a half pass on that.

Breakfast is important, but it doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to be breakfast food! Slice of pizza? Leftover combination fried rice? Ready to go chicken caesar salad because that is what strikes your fancy at the moment? Grapefruit? Little bowl of pineapple? All can be breakfast cause they’re all food, just like cereal, eggs, english muffins and toast are all food.

Bone broth. Now, I know that people who like bone broth REALLY like it. But unless you’re dealing with stomach upset and all you can keep down is broth and toast, fine. But other than that – it’s not lunch on it’s own. Great base for a good soup, or stew, or ramen? Absolutely.

I know, time/energy/etc and trying to hit the sweet spot between “just enough fuel for the afternoon” and “oh no, food coma” is all hard – I’m not discounting that. But, please, have some lunch!

Veggies for dinner. Veggies are great! I should eat more! But if the rest of the day has no protein or carbs…

Remember – protein isn’t just meat. Nuts, beans, dairy, tofu, among others are all proteins and go well with veggies!

Carbs aren’t evil. Carbs are what your body uses first for fuel. Nothing wrong with pasta. A slice of good bread and butter alongside your chicken and lima beans? Well, I’d toast it and put some garlic butter on it. And you can’t have a great curry without rice.

I am lucky and self-regulate to an extent to boot. Fettuccine Alfredo one day? 9 times out 10, the next day my body wants a salad.

I know sometimes eating feels like a chore – we’re tired, and putting something together feels like scaling a mountain.

But it’s a gift to your body. Give yourself that gift, and give it with joy and kindness.

You Are Not Lazy – Ready Made Salad edition

I am going to take a moment to sing the praises of the single serve ready made salad. I first tried them when my market closed the salad bar at the start of the pandemic. (I was a big fan of the salad bar…)

Now, during farmer’s market season, I will buy their super awesome salad mix greens and actually make my salads, but we’re two months away from that – and I don’t always get over there every week.

Enter the ready made salad. They have a decent fridge life*, a nice variety of options, AND I GET VEGETABLES INTO MY BODY.

My local market carries Dole & Ready Pac – and all you have to do it open it, toss it in a tupperware with a lid, give it a shake, add the dressing, another shake, and SALAD!

I do get a little fancy with mine – I add croutons, some extra cheese, some extra chicken or ham**, and a few shakes of whatever seasoning blend is my favorite that day.

But even if you don’t add anything – you’re still getting some veggies and protein and that’s good for you.

Is it more expensive than buying all the salad stuff and just making salads? Yes. Is it cheaper than buying all the salad stuff and having it just get gross in the fridge because for whatever reason actually getting the salad made is harder than you thought it would be? Definitely.

Behold the messy glory of my chef salad with extra cheese and chicken. I don’t know why my camera wanted to make everything so…golden yellow, but I also couldn’t figure out how to fix it, LOL. But, it was tasty.

A tupperware container with a salad in it
Healthy noms

* I do always double check the ‘best by’ date when I am buying them just to be sure I’m not grabbing one that has a day left.
** I get ready to go proteins, too. Either pre-diced/chopped ham, or ready to go grilled chicken strips, either from the market deli or the Purdue shortcuts.


So, we’ve been doing a top to bottom clear out of the house and in part of that, I got my teapots all cleaned up (so, so dusty!) and made myself a pot of tea today – this wonderful True Honey Ginger Lemon Zest. It’s so good, lightly sweetened with honey *in the bags* and I made my pot and then put it over ice and it’s so very refreshing. I picked mine up at a local festival, and one of our local gift shops also sells it, and you can also shop at their site. I’m usually not big on herbal teas – black teas are my favorite, really, but this is really delicious.

Shot of a bag of True Honey Ginger Lemon Zest tea.
So good!

Roasted Potatoes and Sausage!

Made this last night – easy and very satisfying – perfect cold day meal.

Sheet pan of roasted potatoes and sliced chicken sausage
We like easy around here

Prep is 10-15 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.

Ingredients & supplies

  • 1 pound baby potatoes, quartered or chopped. (I chopped up mine in my awesome veggie chopper.)
  • Olive Oil
  • Your favorite sausage, sliced – I used 2 links of Gilbert’s Smoked Gouda Chicken Sausage here. You could use keilbasa, smoked sausage, andouille, whatever floats your boat.
  • Your favorite seasoning blend, probably a few tablespoons – I used McCormick’s Roasted Garlic & Herb seasoning
  • Cookie sheet w/edges to keep things from rolling off
  • Parchment paper for the cookie sheet – not required, but makes cleanup MUCH easier

To cook

  • Quarter or chop the baby potatoes, throw in good sized bowl
  • Drizzle just enough olive oil to coat
  • Shake a bunch of your favorite seasoning blend on and mix well (this is an “eyeball it” thing)
  • Slice sausage, set aside
  • Spread potatoes on cookie sheet
  • Put in oven at 400 degrees
  • At the 15 minute mark, move around the potatoes a bit, and add the sausage on top. (I made the mistake of putting it in at the start, it was a tad overdone, but still tasty!)
  • Cook for 15 minutes more.
  • Enjoy!!


So, I found myself on my own tonight and was sorely tempted to get take out, but I’m trying to not spend too much money – and I remembered that there were still some heat & eat goodies in the freezer from Christmas. Took a peek and decided it was time for Trader Joe’s Mini Chicken Tikka Samosas!

Box of Trader Joe's mini Chicken Tikka Samosas "chicken, vegetables, and Indian spices wrapped in crisp, flaky pastry"

They fit the bill for the night – very tasty, very easy, and I didn’t have to leave the house. If you’re worried about Indian food being spicy (a normal concern) – no worries here. They do have a slow building heat to them, but not “oh god my face is on fire” spicy. Personally, I think they’re better with some kind of dipping sauce of some ilk – if you’re feeling fancy, you could go with plain yogurt with dill and garlic or something along those lines. Or you could go with what I did, which was a dollop of sour cream on the side.

I ate half the package myself. And the rest is going to get popped in the toaster oven tomorrow for lunch.

20 minutes from turning the oven on to ready to eat. And I threw parchment paper on the cookie sheet, so easy clean up to boot.

Next time you’re at TJ’s, give them a whirl.

New Year, Let’s Eat!

OK, so there was a time I would have called this a lazy day meal, but no – we’re not lazy.  We’ve all been dealing with a minimum of SIX YEARS of collective trauma, including but certainly not limited to, bad people in charge, a pandemic that won’t go away, an insurrection, and other things I am sure I have simply blocked out.  Oh, and we’re currently missing half of our federal legislature. 


So, I want to take a minute to tell you about a nice “Fuck, I’m tired” meal kit I picked up at the grocery store.  It’s Chef Rana’s Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Package of Chef Rana's Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo meal kit

It’s very tasty, AND VERY EASY.  You literally take the fresh(!!) pasta out of the bag and loosen it up and put it in the cooking container (which is included.)  Cut the corner of the sauce pouch, pour over.  Open bag of chicken, place on top.  Put two paper towels over the container and pop it in the microwave for 8-9 minutes, give it a good stir, and it’s done.

Because the prep is so fast, it’s good if you can’t stand for long periods of time, or you could even easily put it together sitting down at your kitchen/dining room table.  I usually make some garlic bread to go with it.  Add a salad or some veggies (frozen peas in butter sauce comes to mind!) and you have a total meal.  If you’re having a “we’re having pasta with a side of pasta” night – it will still work, it is filling and satisfying.  

It runs $15 at my market, but you’re getting 2 pounds of food there.  Still cheaper than MickeyD’s for four.  Or two for that matter. And it has a decent fridge shelf-life, so you don’t have to buy/make it the same day.

I took a snap after it came out of the microwave – but I’d already stirred it and all the chicken sank to the bottom, LOL.  I swear, there is chicken in there!

Square black container with egg noodles and cream sauce

Hashbrown Casserole

Perfect for Christmas brunch, or frankly, anytime. Prep time is maybe 5 minutes. Leftovers hold up very well.

Casserole dish with hashbrown casserole, golden on top and browned a bit on the edges
  • 1 (2 pound) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • Half pint sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray one 9×13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. (I use a 10×10 inch and always forget the Pam, no problems.)

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, onions, soup and cheese. Gently mix and pour into prepared pan or dish. (Stand mixer on low works very well for this since there is a fair amount of volume.)

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Enjoy!!


So, the other day I was at the store and spied Fisher’s Popcorn. Saw that they had Old Bay popcorn and thought, “Ooh, that could be good!” and grabbed a bag and a bag of the White Cheddar to boot.

Devoured the White Cheddar in short order – really good, and finally succumbed to the suggestion on the back of the M&M bags to mix them with popcorn – where has that been all my life?!

Then I looked at the Old Bay bag again. It’s Old Bay CARAMEL popcorn.


Well, that could be good, or interesting, or terrible… I mean, chocolate and chili powder go together, I suppose caramel and Old Bay could, too.

Finally got up the nerve to open the bag today – and I like it!

First, the caramel coating is very light – just enough to give the popcorn some extra crunch and sweetness, and not so much that it makes your teeth hurt.

And the Old Bay – works very well with it! It’s not overpowering, but you can definitely taste it and you get that whole awesome salty-sweet thing going on.

As far as beverage pairings go, I don’t think it would be good with soda – I did snack on it with a cold brew coffee which worked well, and I think it would be good with a darker beer – nut brown ales, porters, or stouts.

Honestly, if I’d seen that it was caramel popcorn right off the bat, I probably would have passed on it. Nice to have a happy accident!

Oh, speaking of seasoning

OK, it’s possible this has been on the market for eons, but I only just recently saw it at the store and picked some up – McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning. It has Marjoram, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Savory, and Sage – and all in the right proportions so you don’t have to worry about getting it right.

It’s GREAT and makes life a wee bit easier.

Love me some already figured out spice blends.

Bottle of McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning
I have a BIG canister of it!

Quick review

Hey I cooked last night! Hashbrown casserole and chicken tenders. I would have just gone with the casserole on its own, but I figured we needed a protein. But, like so many of us, I am flattened.

Grabbed some heat & eat chicken tenders at the store – Perdue Simply Smart Organics/Gluten Free Breaded Chicken Tenders.

Ease of Prep: 10/10. Straight from the tray to the cookie sheet, 11-12 minutes in the oven. Couldn’t be easier.

Taste: 6/10. They’re not *bad* – they didn’t dry out in cooking, but the breading has zero seasoning in it, so they’re a bit on the bland side. Easily solved with some BBQ or Honey Mustard sauce, but not much on their own.

But, they got the job done. I didn’t intentionally look for gluten free, it’s what was at the store, and I genuinely don’t know if that accounts for the plainness of the seasoning or not.

They were easy, which was nice, but I think next time, time and energy allowing, I’ll do my own coating & breading. (Coating: Mayo & Country Dijon mustard, Breading: Italian Breadcrumbs w/Parmesan cheese.)

ETA: Just reheated one with a bit of garlic salt on top – very good! Trick may be to put some of your favorite shake-on seasoning before cooking, flip at the halfway point and hit the other side.

ETAA: Just had another one, this time with some Italian Seasoning – also, very good. Definitely recommend putting your fav seasoning on before cooking.

Screenshot of Perdue Organic Gluten Free Chicken Tenders package

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