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Jennifer Grassman

Recording Artist + Author + Mommy

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Food & Recipes

Hodgepodge Soup: The Perfect Recipe for Cold Wet Winter Weather

If you’re like me you hate going out in cold damp weather, you’re low on groceries, and your fridge and pantry are filled with miscellaneous odds and ends. You have spaghetti sauce but no pasta; a head of cabbage that you bought accidentally thinking it was lettuce; canned beans but no hamburger to make chili; a sprig of parsley you’re not sure what to do with; one sad and lonely jalapeno; a forgotten bag of onions that seem to be sprouting stalks; and 5 potatoes too small to bake or take seriously.

Hodgepodge Soup is souper easy. See what I did there? It’s perfect for days like this when it’s cold and wet and you really don’t feel like going to the store. It’s also great for cleaning out your fridge. As long as you have some kind of stock or broth (or means of making your own, such as a whole chicken, ham bone, or spaghetti sauce) you can make this. Continue reading “Hodgepodge Soup: The Perfect Recipe for Cold Wet Winter Weather”

This is Why I Don’t Diet

There are so many fad diets going around right now. Note that I say “going around,” as if diets are a strain of the flu. That’s because I believe that diets are a sort of communicable insanity. Here’s how they’re transmitted:

A friend tells you about the evils of gluten or dairy or soy and how it’s burning holes in your “gut” like molten lava mixed with napalm, and before you know it, you’re gnawing on faux bread made of recycled, organic, free range, cardboard boxes.

Some of the smartest women I know are eating Neanderthal food. How ironic is that? Sure, nuts, berries, and iguana-kababs kept those hideous, hunched over, hairy people alive 40,000 years ago, but did you ever stop to consider why they died out? Or maybe, that they didn’t have any other choice in regard to food selection?

HEB CroogsCan you imagine the expression on a cave man’s face if they walked into an HEB or Kroger?

Other dear friends have endured fasts, cleanses, and detoxes. They swear that once their deprivation is over, they feel so incredibly good. “Well, yeah,” think I, “Your body went into starvation mode and then you finally fed it real food.” The elation they feel upon ingesting nutrients is probably not unlike that of a freshman tasting their first margarita.

Please don’t be sad. Or mad. I love you all! (Well, some of you). And, I am a proponent of eating healthy. I could totally imagine being a vegetarian if meat didn’t taste so good and I liked beans a lot more. But I don’t think starving oneself sounds very fun or wise. I also feel that reverting to the diet of our naked, stinking, flea-ridden ancestors is questionable wisdom. I mean … they went extinct for a reason, right?

It used to be that if people had allergies they just didn’t eat whatever they were allergic too. Nowadays, if someone thinks anything makes them gassy, sleepy, heachachy, water-retainy, sweaty, or whatevery, they go all fancy-pants-diety on us and can’t eat from at least two of the five basic food groups.

Now, now, now; before you get uppety and are all like, “Jennifer, you’re squishing on my persnicketies and not offering real world alternatives,” hear me out. Here’s how I recommend we all eat healthy:

  1. Eat whatever real food you want, but in moderation.
  2. Don’t eat anything you can’t pronounce the ingredients of. Apocarotenal? Um, no.
  3. Don’t eat anything if the ingredients sound like they might explode. Pyrophosphate? How ’bout not.
  4. Enjoy variety. Never eat the same dinner in one week.
  5. Eat lots of colors. The more colorful your food the more diverse the nutrients in it are likely to be … and it’s usually a lot tastier too. Red meat. White meat. Purple cabbage. Red tomatoes. Orange oranges. Pink peaches. Green broccoli. Yellow bananas. You get the idea.
  6. If you want to lose weight, eat smaller portions. And exercise. Exercise is good.
  7. Gluten is fine, as long as you’re not allergic to it.
  8. Dairy is fine, as long as you’re not allergic to it.
  9. Chocolate is awesome, as long as you’re not allergic to it.
  10. In fact, just don’t eat anything you’re allergic to. That’s a good idea.
  11. GMOs are fine, especially if you cook them to kill all the science. Heck, you can even eat a cloned space alien as long as its core temperature has reached 165°.
  12. Don’t eat dirt. Don’t eat anything that tastes like dirt either. Dirt is bad.
  13. Don’t eat too many carrots. People claim carrots are healthy, but if you’ve ever fed carrots to a baby, you know that they look about the same coming out as they did going in. Ew. Just ew.
  14. That goes for corn too. And peanuts. Eat in moderation. Because, wow.

Diets are temporary. Cleanses, detoxes, and all these fad things invented by people with last names like “Jupiter” and “Avocado” are here today and gone tomorrow.

Like phrenology. That used to be a thing.

Eat real food. Eat enough food. Don’t overeat. Exercise. Drink tons of water. And BOOM. You’ll be living a healthy lifestyle. Once you have established a healthy lifestyle, you won’t just be improving your health exclusively during the ____ day period you diet / cleanse / detox / fast / whatever. Instead, you’ll continually feel better and have plenty of energy.

Obviously, if you have certain health concerns you’ll want to follow your doc’s instructions and consume less sodium, sugar, fats, or ______. But generally speaking, E A T F O O O O D.

Food good.

Starving bad.

Even Neanderthals knew that.

Monday Madness: A Ludicrous Limerick Called, “Ode to a Salad”

Behold! A poem that came to me this afternoon as I ate my lunch:

This is a ballad that is all about salad;
It rhymes about carrots, and not about ferrets,
Its lyrics beset us with lines about lettuce
It inanely prattles about grapes, nuts, and apples,
It lilts about beans and lush collard greens
Of turnips, and beets, and onions, and leeks,
It’s an inspired adage on spinach and cabbage,
(It practically shouts about Brussels sprouts!)
And insinuates coyly that there’s nothing so holy
As getting down on your knees to sing a hymn about peas.

While poetry about vegetables is really quite questionable,
And expressing on dressing may be quite depressing
(If one loathes potatoes or cherry tomatoes,
Or thinks it quite caddish to sing of a radish),
Nevertheless, this rhyme doth express
Preeminent joy regarding bok choy,
It simpers forlorn about uneaten corn
And savors the oddity of cheese and diced broccoli,
So therefor I boldly, and hotly, and coldly,
Entitle this ballad, “An Ode to a Salad.”

Recipes: 3 YUMMY Ways to Spruce Up Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey, Veggies, & Food

I know this has nothing to do with music, but I love cooking, so I thought I’d share some of the ways I like to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey, vegetables, and food to make yummy post-Thanksgiving dishes that don’t taste like leftovers!  So, here ya go (o:

 

THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING HASH-BROWNS

  • Leftover mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3 Tblsp. canola oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Coat your griddle or frying pan with oil. Scatter your diced onions and smooth mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes onto pan. Fry until golden brown, then flip with a spatula. Repeat until onions are translucent and potatoes are golden and crunchy. Salt and pepper to taste.

 

TURKEY POT PIE

Preheat oven to 425°

  • Approx. 1lb. leftover Thanksgiving turkey, cut into bite size chunks
  • Any leftover peas, carrots, corn, celery, diced onions or diced potatoes you’ve got in the fridge or freezer
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 3/4 cups leftover gravy (cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup works too)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 (9 inch) Pillsbury pie crusts

1. Blend flour, salt, pepper, gravy and sour cream in a large bowl.

2. Mix in your turkey and leftover / frozen veggies.

3. Place whole mixture in bottom pie crust.

4. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough.

5. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

7. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 

TURKEY CASSEROLE

Preheat oven to 350°

  • 2 1/2 to 2 cups leftover Thanksgiving turkey, diced
  • 16 ounces frozen spinach (optional but awesome)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s season salt or regular salt (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1 can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup or leftover gravy
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 packages crushed Ritz crackers

1. Thaw, drain, and squeeze dry your spinach

2. In a large plastic bag, smash your crackers into crumbs

3. Mix spinach, salt, garlic,  soup/gravy, sour cream, Parmesan, and turkey in a large bowl.

4. Coat base of 13×9″ casserole dish with 1/2 of your cracker crumbs.

5. Carefully pour turkey mixture into dish, without relocating the bottom crumbs too much.

6. Sprinkle the remaining cracker crumbs on top of your casserole, thoroughly coating it.

7. Bake at 350° until crust is toasted on top (15-25 minutes).

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