What’s for supper? Vol. 10: ‘At’samatta for you?

What’s for supper? Vol. 10: ‘At’samatta for you? October 30, 2015

whats for supper



Roast chicken, asparagus, braided stuffed bread, and roast apples; hot cider; birthday cake and ice cream.

One of my four teenagers had a birthday. Fine, her birthday was last month. But when we finally got around to having a party, it was pretty good. It was a dinner party very loosely based on The Hobbit.

food blog hobbit cake
You thought the Peter Jackson version was bad? This is the version where the cake is basically just crumbs held together with damp coconut, and everything else is made out of store bought icing squeezed out of sandwich bags, and the director has severe PMS and is just trying not to get tears in the food.

Mommy blogging alert and disclaimer. I like making crafts, decorating cakes, and crap like that. It is fun for me. If you hate crafts and stuff, and reading about crafts and stuff makes you feel bad, just tell yourself, “Yeah, but her house smells like pee and looks like the hynena cave in Lion King!” And it will be true. Or, if you’re much better at crafts and cake decorating and stuff than I am, just go suck an egg. See? Everyone’s happy.

We had a giant garbage bag spider with a captured Felicity dwarf in its web lurking in one corner

food blog spider

and I attempted to make Bilbo’s door out of streamers, but it didn’t look that great, mainly because the my Cheapskate Brain overpowered my Regular Brain and persuaded me that we could afford to buy green streamers, but not colored paper for the bricks.

food blog hobbit door

Benny was very impressed, though, when I used matches to distress the “no admittance” sign.

I used a match because it's from The Hobbit, back when everything was burnt on the edges.
I used a match because it’s from The Hobbit times, back when everything was burnt on the edges.

That was all decorating we had time for. We had a campfire, the kids played at the stream, and we made dragon eggs. Yes, the dragon in LOTR is a boy dragon, but you know what? This is a party activity which teenagers are not too cool to do (if you can put up with a lot of shrieking over how gross the egg-blowing is). Here’s the instructions, and here are a few the kids made:

food blog dragon eggs



If you make a little circle of hot glue on one end, they will stand up on their own.

We have An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery (actually, we couldn’t find our copy; but not one but two friends were kind enough to get their hands on the ebook version and send me the recipe!), which is full of tasty things we need to make someday. Because we were rushed, we just chose the braided braid stuffed with onions, mushrooms and cheese. I’m not great with yeast breads, and in desperation picked up five pouches of pizza crust mix from Walmart, and it turned out spectacular. My daughter made four large loaves. There were shouts of, “MAKE THIS EVERY DAY FROM  NOW ON.” 

I also roasted a couple of big chickens, steamed some asparagus, and made two big pans of roasted apples, and it was a very fine meal, if only vaguely Hobbity.

food blog hobbit meal

We had hot cider, non-mulled, because I’m the only one who likes it mulled. I like some wine in it, too, but it wasn’t that kind of party.

food blog irene campfire
Or was it?

Roasted apples, by the way! Yes. So easy and delicious. A quick, easy side dish that would go with lots of cold weather foods.

food blog roasted apples



Yummy things without kids!

Sunday was our 18th anniversary. The kids had hot dogs or something, and we packed a bottle of wine and an assortment of tasty things and ate the by a little fire down by the stream, which is just out of sight of the house, and we had a lovely time.

food blog fire wine

So then I realized it was time to start the week, and I hadn’t gone shopping yet, and had also somehow unexpectedly run out of money. Like, all of it. So the rest of the week went like this:

You’ll note there was no actual falling down, but there was a lot of falling. I never actually made a meal plan or went grocery shopping in any organized way; I just flailed around in the store on the way home from school several times, and then flailed around in the kitchen until there was something hot on the table.



There was so much grousing about lack of good lunch food, I thought I should make an effort for dinner, so I made sauce out of all the stuff we had in the house, which turned out to be peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, wine, and ground turkey. I like making homemade sauce, because how fancy is it to add sugar to something that is not supposed to be sweet, because you’re so smart, you know you have to cut the acidity of the tomatoes? I feel like such an insider.

An’ a little bit l’ wiiine . . . and that’s my secret.

Of course the end result is less Godfather and more Tasmanian Devil

But the end result was actually pretty good, mainly because we were starving by the time I got dinner on the table.



Maybe frozen chicken burgers? I forget.


Chicken drumsticks; macaroni salad; frozen peas

I was planning to make rice, but there was no rice, so I scraped together this macaroni salad recipe, which tasted fine.


Braised pork with red wine over noodles

I was determined to make something interesting this week. This was not bad.

food blog braised pork

It is something new to do with pork, anyway, and pork keeps on being cheap.  I let it boil too fast for too long, so the meat was a little tough; but the gravy was fantastic. I could have eaten just the noodles with gravy and been happy. It’s definitely easy, and you can do it in a crock pot if you like.

Also, it turns out I didn’t know what “braised” means.


I have no idea. Probably more noodles. I have to finish up Halloween costumes. I’m really counting on the kids being full of candy from their parties today, and thinking less about supper and more about (sigh) gutting and carving ten pumpkins.

This looks like a happy childhood, right?
This looks like a happy childhood, right?

My therapist says that people underestimate the profound effect of not getting enough sleep. Well, I don’t. Or, I do. I mean, I’m really tired. I feel bad even saying it, because my husband keeps getting up with the kids so I can sleep, but nevertheless.

Question of the week: ‘Attsa matta, you no like-a, HEY, ‘attsamatta for you?

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Amanda

    Awesome looking party! I’m terrible at crafts/aesthetics but I love seeing what other people can do. My week in meals:

    Saturday–we went on a little family vacation to San Antonio. We were rained out of a few of our planned activities so against my better judgment my husband agreed for us to go listen to a timeshare presentation in exchange for a $75 restaurant gift certificate. The inevitable super-pressure to sign up now now now after 2 hours of showing you/discussing lovely, unattainable vacations was no fun, but we got our certificate and had free dinner at the Rainforest Cafe! Since we weren’t paying out of pocket we splurged–appetizer, fancy overpriced drinks, and a steak/shrimp combo for me. We even ordered a kids meal for the toddler, which she did not touch any part of (thus confirming why we never bother buying her food when we go out to eat).

    Sunday–got back home around 6 p.m., did not feel remotely like cooking or driving anywhere ever again so we got Pizza Hut delivery (usually we always do carryout because the delivery charges are so expensive, but after driving for a few hours home in a rainstorm we were happy to pay the money to let someone else bring the pizza to us)

    Monday–hard to get back into the cooking swing of things after a lovely little vacation and getting to eat out, so I pulled out some leftover stuffed pepper casserole from the freezer and we just had that.

    Tuesday–my favorite pork chops in onion and bacon gravy, over mashed potatoes, with peas and carrots on the side. According to my Scottish husband this gravy I make is perfect for authentic bangers and mash but unfortunately it’s hard to find proper sausages in America so we usually just have it with pork chops.

    Wednesday–Cream cheese jalapeno chicken over rice

    Thursday–tried a new recipe! (my goal is to try at least one new recipe every week) Indian Butter Chicken; not as good as my favorite Indian restaurant back where we used to live, but turned out better than any of my other attempts at Indian cooking so far: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/45957/chicken-makhani-indian-butter-chicken/?internalSource=search%20result&referringContentType=search%20results

    Friday–Modern Table Meals meal kit–it’s a bean based pasta company that does those ready in 15 minutes meal kits. Trying their Mediterranean variety, will add in feta cheese to kick it up a notch.

  • Sara McD

    shut uppa you face? Goofy good memories.

  • Eileen

    Wow! That Hobbit house is awesome! Sleep deprivation is torture. No other word for it. You won’t see me underestimating sleep’s importance.

    Once again we had an embarrassing week where the only groceries I bought were some chicken, milk, bread, eggs, and a little fruit. I’m trying to save money and eat down my food hoard (most of which was bought on sale with a coupon). Fortunately for my husband and me, I’ve got quite a bit of frozen veggies, but truthfully, the bulk of the kids’ calories this week came from processed high sodium stuff – they’re loving it, but I do feel a bit guilty.

    In no particular order, our meals this week: shake n bake chicken with rice a roni, mixed veggies, and Pillsbury crescent rolls, Campbell’s chicken broccoli divan (I used Healthy Request soup, but who’s kidding who – that soup’s a heart attack in a can). I made more crescent roll quiches, which I love, but a couple of the boys protested me making quiche for like the fifth time in two weeks and so the kids all ended up eating Dinty Moore while I ate quiche for breakfast and dinner pretty much all week long. And I was happy to do so, because I love that crescent roll quiche. Our healthiest night was a chicken vegetable stir fry. Tonight was Kraft Mac n Cheese (for the boys – I ate quiche). And I think I just made the boys scavenge for dinner the other two nights, because I don’t remember making anything else.

  • Karyn

    Wait — you actually get ten pumpkins!! Now I feel bad that I make my six kids share three pumpkins…I just can’t stand to spend the money on something we can’t eat (they only like so many seeds).

  • Ezbs

    Simcha you crack me up.

  • KilkennyKid

    Very funny! The short scene from the Godfather just happens to have my Godfather aka Uncle Matty to me in it. He’s on the left side of the table seated on the outside end. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I watched it.

  • Thank you for that clip. You are a wonderful mom.

  • Anna

    I hate cheapskate brain too; it is responsible for large amounts of misery and very little actual savings, but when it kicks in it usually outshouts regular brain.

    Sat: I don’t remember, except that we had a big brunch with family who was in town. Dinner probably paled in comparison.
    Sun: tacos
    Mon: leftover tacos
    Tues: chicken and biscuit casserole from PW’s Tasty Kitchen. I added peas and carrots so there’d be a veggie.
    Wed: it was 15 years of officially being a couple, so we left the kids with my parents and went out. It was the first time since the twins were born that we’d left them while we went out; the girl required a lot of walking and bouncing, but they made it for 1.5 hours or so and my parents didn’t collapse, so it was good.
    Thurs: we’d gotten a “casserole of the month” at a charity auction, so we got beef chow mein (and since the cook was a friend, she brought strawberries and pineapple, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, rolls, and cherry horns too) and it was excellent.
    Fri: leftovers. We usually do meatless on Fridays, but we had a lot of leftovers that we didn’t want to go to waste.

  • anna lisa

    You are such a nice Mom to decorate so imaginatively. Kids love that stuff. I have to constantly remind myself how excited I would get over things like that when I was a kid. My Dad used to love it when we would make a bunch of stuff and overdecorate for Christmas, but my Mom would sigh and roll her eyes. Now I have this genetic disposition to eye rolling.

    I even dislike Disneyland.. (How can those mother ehfers charge that much for a kid???)

    On a more wholesome note–I love how easy it is to thrill kids. Boring adults become thrill-challenged.

    In the culinary dept.? A blur.–Extended family Birthday pizza party with a nice salad and a side of sad because Papa is gone from the head of the big table.

    Seafood pasta with that mixed seafood blend from Trader Joe’s (really good) .

    A couple nights of homemade beans with this that and the other…

    An Eggplant, zucchini, mushroom, celery, parsnip and tomato pasta, served w/ grassfed ground beef…

    Tacos, burritos (from scratch)–

    one night of mall sushi…

    I’m pretty broke this week too. –Halloween, bi-yearly car insurance, broke (begging) college students, new living room stuff…
    I pretty much need to feed the kids at home on 200 bucks till Thursday.

    –All good.
    Keeps life exciting.

    • Eileen

      Where do you buy your meat? Around here, grass fed beef makes Disney seem like a bargain! I am on a grass fed kick. I’ve switched our butter to the Kerrygold and I’m taking CLA supplements. My cholesterol is better. I think it helps me lose weight. But grass fed beef remains a pipe dream in our house.

      I mostly buy our meat at BJ’s and they actually don’t have any grass fed beef, but I’ve priced it at the supermarket and Whole Foods and I just can’t justify it. Is there some store where it goes on sale? Or do you splurge on the grass fed and then go vegetarian the rest of the week? I have a tough time serving vegetarian that’s not super high in refined carbs which I try to avoid. My husband and I don’t like fish and only two of our boys eat it. So in a normal week that leaves us with chicken, chicken, and more chicken.

      • Anna

        Around here it’s not *too* tough to find, though via the grocery store it’s super-expensive. But we get ours a half-steer at a time; we found a farmer on craigslist and so we pay market price when it goes to the locker plus a couple hundred for processing. It works out to, this time I think around $3 or $3.25/lb which is for ground beef, but also steaks and roasts. So it’s $1000 or so at once, but then we don’t buy meat for at least a year.

        • anna lisa


        • anna lisa

          I wonder if you can order a half a cow online!? That’s an incredible price. I’d buy a freezer for that!

        • Eileen

          Wow!!! We looked into buying a grass fed half cow last year, I think. It came out a little pricier than that, but my biggest concern was that I wouldn’t be able to fit it all in my freezer. Actually, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to, particularly with all my extreme coupon finds. We’d have had to buy another freezer. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to get into that.

          Six something a pound I would be ok with once in a while (although not for the next couple of months), but I’m not seeing those prices here. Part of the problem, I suppose, is that I don’t go into stores that sell grass fed beef on a regular basis. And the circulars never specify that it’s on sale. Trader Joe’s is too far away, but there’s a rumor that one will be opening in a closed supermarket, so we’ll see.

      • anna lisa

        I buy it at Trader Joe’s in the frozen section, Whole Foods, when it goes on sale and Vons/Safeway when it goes on sale. But it’s still six something a lb. Today I’m making a beef stew with a bunch of packages of beef we picked up in the 50% off “manager’s special” spot. This time none of it is grassfed though…:(
        It really is surprising when you compare the nutritional value of grass fed/grain fed. We almost never have just grass fed steaks though. If we are going to sit down to a steak dinner, I usually wait for regular tri tip (which I think is particular to this area) to go on sale. We like to grill it, and saute mushrooms and onion to go with it.
        –I have a fear of carbs too–I serve myself a little bit. I try to eat small dinners. I’ll splurge on bread if it’s at a restaurant, and it’s just come out of the oven, or if it’s with nice cheese. There’s also this great bakery that makes the best croissants I’ve ever had in my life, which we get as a treat once a week. I really like the nice Irish butter too, it tastes sooo much better, but I cook with the regular kind.
        We eat a lot of chicken soup. The rotisserie chicken from the store is cheap, (and better than if I made it myself) so I get those now and then, and then there is a chicken place here that makes it (Puerto Rican/cuban?) style, that we get a couple times a month.
        We could live on seafood–but I hated it as a kid! (American housewives tended to dry it out)… My favorite, most decadent treat in the world is a “gold shot” of live Uni that they harvest right here in our channel. It’s like Foi Gras of the ocean. The first time I ever saw it I wanted to throw up though!

        • Eileen

          I bet if I’d have married a guy who ate fish, I’d probably be able to eat it by now too. 🙂 As it is, we’re pretty much a fish free house. We don’t even eat tuna. Last Christmas I did buy a shrimp tray to serve to guests. One of my boys went crazy for it. And that was the last time fish darkened our doorway. I had to look up uni. I see it’s sushi. No thanks. I’m pretty sure it would make me vomit. Not exaggerating. My kids tell me that it takes eating something you don’t like 30 times to develop a taste for it. I just can’t imagine eating sushi 30 times. It’d pretty much have to be a starvation doomsday scenario, and even then only after I’d already eaten all the squirrels and rats. 🙂

          • anna lisa

            lolololol 😀
            I was an impossible picky eater until I met my husband. He didn’t really give a rat’s patootie if I liked what he liked. He’d spend his last five bucks at a great restaurant. The French are like that too. (My bil has a couple of restaurants in Paris) They have tiny apartments, so they live to be out and about–even if they’re poor. My Spanish friend says that Americans live to work and Europeans work to live. (No wonder they have 1.8 kids!) Sushi is stupid expensive, so I sometimes manage to entice my husband to eat a taco before I suggest the sushi bar! –we bring all the kids only if it’s a special occasion. Funny how my LEAST favorite food is now my favorite.

            It always occurs to us when we eat simple, pure and unprocessed food that too many chefs take too much credit! The vast array of flavors and textures that God has created for us is amazing.

            btw (this is totally off the subject,) –guess who I was just chatting with??–Bishop Robert Barron. 🙂 He said mass at our cemetery with my childhood friend Fr. John. I told him that we were real Santa Barbarians which made him chuckle a bit. The man is such a gifted speaker. He gave a beautiful sermon about death, –that the soul is so clearly not there with the mortal remains, but very close to *us* while in heaven.
            …I finally worked up the courage to see my baby’s grave. There was a lady sitting near another baby grave. She was sitting in the exact same spot, the last time we were there to bury my Dad. She had a huge bouquet of gladiolas and various objects adorning it. Lots of the graves had flowers. Some had packaged snacks and toys! …I came empty handed. I don’t really understand that kind of devotion to mortal remains…I think I’d rather be blasted in an oven and reduced to ashes quickly :/
            Anyhow–Happy Feast of all Souls 🙂

          • Eileen

            That is cool about meeting the Bishop! My husband places flowers at his parents’ grave about once a year. I have never been back to our baby’s grave, but we were at the same cemetery about two years ago and pointed out to the kids where their brother’s body was buried. We haven’t actually put a headstone there yet (mostly because it’s expensive and we’re paying stupid amounts of tuition). We bought a family plot when he died so eventually my husband and I will be buried with him. I’m crying just thinking about him now, but I don’t think being at his currently unmarked grave would bring me any kind of solace. Maybe once we put a stone there I’ll feel differently.

          • anna lisa

            Oh Eileen, I hear you. My other baby, Maria Angelina is buried in San Rafael. We never paid for a headstone for her either. (I noticed a lot of unmarked grave sites in the baby section yesterday, and understood perfectly why people can’t face such a thing). I remember how difficult it was to come up with the $ for just her burial site. I would have to drive past that cemetery if I went to Costco or if the kids were meeting friends at the huge theater complex next door, and it never stopped being like a knife to the heart. You don’t ever really get over it you just learn how to live with it. When we buried our son, I remember my oldest sister coming up to me and remarking on how beautiful the graveside service was, and how much she wished there had been something to commemorate her (early) miscarriages. I know that between my sisters and sil, there were at least 15 other grandkids that didn’t make it here. I would like to do something like bury a little box there, commemorating all of them.
            I have a little bottle of holy water that my friend Fr. John used for the service, that I blessed my father’s forehead with, right before he died.
            Last night I was reflecting upon my experience there at the graveyard, trying to express to my husband and son the powerful emotions it evoked, –that most definitely–one of the emotions was *joy*. It is better to remember than *not* to, and better to feel that powerful emotion –than not. It was the first time I’d seen my father’s gravestone as well. I recognized the sweet little bouquet of flowers there, as flowers picked from our garden. I knew that it would/does please my father more than any big fancy *anything*. When my son told me that my mother goes there every day, I felt so sad for her, but I know she must derive some comfort from it. I told her how beautiful her flowers looked which made her happy/cry, and then she made me laugh by telling me, “I’m really mad at him for not contacting me yet.” Some of the grandkids are saying that he has come to them in their dreams but this only adds to her being a little ticked off at him.
            Anyhow–that’s why Bishop Barron’s sermon was such a comfort, because he touched upon all of those raw emotions we feel when we “lose” (not really) someone we love.

            I had to smile when I saw the little thing my husband had inscribed on the baby’s tombstone, –it was perfect because it was written in English but like a translation of the Spanish phrase he had in his mind. So perfect. It was something like: “Our baby that we love, pray for us.”
            The eerie reality of my father’s stone is that it has the family name at the top, with my father’s name and dates on the left, and a blank spot on the right…

            btw Eileen, –in all practicality–I think my husband ordered the baby’s gravestone on Amazon or something. It came in a very. heavy. box. with the granite encased in bubble wrap. The local people wanted an arm and a leg. I’m all for keeping it local *to a point*. (Like the point where you still need to put food on the table!) 🙂