Broccoli Tots

broccoli totsForget it, these are delicious, and SO Easy!

Broccoli Tots

12 ounces broccoli, cut into small florets
¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
⅔ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
⅔ cup bread crumbs
Salt & pepper
Optional: 2 tsp Sriracha (optional but recommended!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Aggressively season with salt. Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for about two minutes. Drain and finely chop the cooked broccoli. In a mixing bowl, add broccoli, scallions, garlic, cheddar, egg, and bread crumbs. Optional: Add hot sauce of choice. Mix well and chill in the refrigerator for 15–20 minutes.

Spray a nonstick baking sheet with nonstick spray. Shape the mixture into tot shapes and spread them evenly on the sheet.

Bake for 8–9 minutes. Flip and then bake for an additional 8–9 minutes on the other side until golden brown.

Hat tip: Tasty

 

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Simple Delicious Detox

Cucumber via Isabella

CUCUMBER WATER!

Cucumber water will keep you hydrated, provide extra vitamins A and C, help bring down blood pressure, curb your appetite, soothe muscles, provide antioxidants and detoxing properties, and is great for your skin.

What could be easier than slicing cucumbers and putting into a jar of water? I usually do these at night, so that I can have one first thing in the morning, before coffee (taste-wise and benefits-wise, it’s better to let them soak 8-12 hours).

I use the Trader Joe’s Persian cucumbers, Persian cucumberbecause their size is perfect for these vintage green Ball jars I purchased from Bed Bath & Beyond. Slice ’em up, one per jar, pour filtered water over, pop on a lid and into the fridge. Of course, you can use whatever cucumber you like, the point is that you get that lovely refreshing taste that is actually super good for you.

I always refresh each jar with another round of water for a second glass, back into the fridge for another day. The cuke will keep.

Simple!

Santé!

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Farro Mushroom Green Bean Salad

farro green bean salad

Samantha Bee, from Daily Show and now her OWN SHOW, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, did an interview with Grub Street, turns out she is a good cook and time organizer, two things Silly Mama loves. Among so many of her ideas, I loved this farro salad, made it, brought to a BBQ potluck, and it was consumed immediately with yums. So good. One of the readers of the Grub Street piece found the recipe and posted it. Hat tip: Closet Cooking. THANK YOU.

Recipe:
2 cups water
1 cup farro
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
1 pound green beans (I like French haricots verts), trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup feta, goat or blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
1/2 teaspoon thyme (chopped)

Bring the water and farro to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the farro is al dente, about 20 minutes.
Toss the mushrooms and green beans in the oil, thyme, salt and pepper and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer.
Roast the mushrooms and green beans in a preheated 400F/200C oven until they start to caramelize, about 20 minutes, flipping them half way through.
Mix everything and enjoy.

Posted in Easy, Recipes, Salad, SIDES, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Creamed Spinach Mushroom

Let’s talk about SIDES. I was the vegetarian daughter in a family of meat-eaters, and for decades, at holidays, I was asked if I could “just pick it out,” NO, and I went through an entire Engagement Reception Dinner with my boyfriend and his family in Cleveland eating NOTHING. Dish after dish went by, it was coinciding with my 30th birthday, I will never forget the shitstorm that was my birthday and their wedding, which ultimately ended in divorce cumulatively for all of us.

Later, I met and fell in love with a French man. For our first picnic, he ordered “tongue” from the deli. I had never even heard of this, but came to know the French will eat every bit of the animal. He didn’t finish it, a day later, my refrigerator was SCREAMING from death aromas.creamed spinach mushroom

Things have changed, and so many more have embraced vegetarian alternatives. That is GOOD NEWS.

I have been creating SIDES to compensate for the meaty table for as long as I can remember, so I am happy to offer so many that I have found over the years. Here’s the first, but there will be more. Hat tip, Cooking Light.

Creamed Spinach Mushroom Recipe:

4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms (I used regular)
1 (10-ounce) package baby spinach
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch salt and pepper
dash of nutmeg
2 1/2 ounces low-fat cream cheese (I used cheddar, 2 oz., didn’t have cream cheese)

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; cook 6 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Remove mushrooms from pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.

2. Recipe says heat a Dutch oven over medium heat, but I put a regular Calphalon saucepan to use. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil; swirl to coat. Add shallots and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts and the mixture is smooth. Add mushrooms and spinach to milk mixture, and toss gently to coat.

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Zucchini Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

If you don’t have a Spiralizer yet, I highly recommend. I’ve got the Paderno. Here’s a youtube from a previous post to help you get started.

Low-carb, delicious “noodles” or, in this case, zucchini swirls for a fabulous salad. Hat tip: Cacique.

Serves 4

2 green zucchinis, cut with a spiralizer
Salad greens (I used baby arugula)
1 large cucumber, sliced and seeds removed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Purple onion, thinly sliced
1 cup of canned garbanzo beans, drained

Zucchini Salad ingredients

For the dressing:
1 large ripe avocado
¼ cup of Cacique Crema Mexicana
¼ cup of Cacique Ranchero Queso Fresco
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove
Lemon or lime juice to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

Avocado dressing

In a food processor, combine avocado, Cacique Crema Mexicana, Cacique Ranchero Queso Fresco, cilantro, garlic. Add a splash of water as needed or desired. Pulse until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. If you want a thicker dressing, don’t add water and pulse the mixture until desired consistency. For a lighter dressing, use water or more Cacique Crema Mexicana.

In a large bowl, combine zucchini, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and garbanzo beans.
Stir in dressing and gently toss to combine.
Serve over a bed of salad greens.
JUST before serving, drizzle the salad with lemon or lime juice to taste.

Zucchini SaladQuè buena!

Posted in Food, Lunch Ideas, Recipes, Salad, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

Easy, fabulous. One pan, mucho taste. Hat tip, Damn Delicious.

one pan mexican quinoa

Recipe:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup corn kernels
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and jalapeño, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.

Serve immediately.

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Second Super Bowl, guess those QBs got me there

So, last year, I watched, because I was quite taken with Tom Brady, became friends with him AND his lovely wife on Facebook, and enjoyed watching that game (albeit last minute oy vey decisions! let us not go into that, even I, with no training or interest whatsoever, knew that was an epic fail). Click on the crazy.

super bowl

Last minute touchdown

So, Super Bowl 2016 looming, I still inadvertently secured tix for Hail, Caesar! at Arclight for 2:30pm today, coinciding with a $20 off dinner at Stella Barra around the corner, because I am rolling lately with coupons and $ off, and expiration is nigh, and I’m not much of a sports fan.

Well.

We get to Arclight and this movie has a fabulous trailer, but it is a terrible movie.

My daughter and I debate a couple of times whether we should split. She says hang in there, we do, but, ultimately, we need good pizza and Football Halftime as a palate cleanser.

They are.

We adjourn to Stella Barra, have a great dinner (tomato basil soup, Margherita pizza with arugula on one side, two gourmet root beers), then head home.

We settle in JUST WHEN half-time starts, best possible timing, and it does not disappoint. I loved it all, despite all tweets and posts to the contrary. Entertaining and awesome and I love Coldplay and Uptown Funk, and I’m kind-of over Beyonce, but it’s all spectacular.

I watch the rest of the game with relish, my daughter can’t believe it: “What are you turning into?” NO IDEA, but I love this face.

Cam Newton

Open, friendly, genuine, intelligent, and  super good smile.

Cam is with the Carolina Panthers. They didn’t win. The Broncos’ Defense was fierce, even I could tell that with my lack of knowledge.

OH. WELL.

I was happy for the Broncos, because, apparently, Peyton Manning is retiring, and he has a reputation. Click on the image and see how much.

peyton

Guess I’m into football once a year.

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More Days In Court

When we last left our local courthouse, I had been granted the surreal status of Legal Guardian to my daughter (who else would it be?), an Order to create a Blocked Account for her, and a Receipt and Acknowledgement of Deposit to be filled out by Fidelity and returned to the court by February. We can do this, I think, feeling we might be reaching the end of this nightmare. All we need now is the check.

I call Boeing to confirm they’ve received my guardianship documents and all is good to go on distribution of the funds. I talk to a nice man named London, who checks on things and tells me sympathetically that the date on my signature is not the same as the one from my notary, so I’ll have to resubmit the paperwork. I flash on the day I filled it out and went to my notary friend at work, who was out sick, so signed everything the next day. How did I know that would throw this whole thing out?

“But wait,” I say, flipping frantically through my documents. “That was the first round. I submitted another set after that,” and sure enough, I find that notarized signature page and the dates jive. “I’ll check with my supervisor,” says London, and puts me on hold. Many moments pass, I’m trying to make out the song that keeps looping, then:

London calling. “Good news,” he says. “We can use this set of documents. However, we have just missed the date for checks to go out, so yours will be mailed first of January.”

Tina Fey eye roll

O…kay…

The following week, I receive a letter from Boeing telling me that distribution of funds have been >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>approved with hand

January arrives, as does the check. I head over to Fidelity on the 4th with the coveted funds, and deposit them into the IRA BDA account that the guy I find out had no idea what he was talking about representative set up for my daughter over a year ago. They deposit the funds, but when I insist that they have to sign the Acknowledgement and Receipt, there’s a problem. Rep who makes the deposit is on the phone for nearly an hour with “Legal,” while I sit in a conference room and watch the stock market plunge on CNBC. Rep returns, apologizes, but Legal can’t sign it. They will write a letter.

“A letter’s not going to cut it,” I offer. I ask him for their number and he gives it to me. “By the way,” I say, taking my leave, “You put that deposit in as cash, right? Because it doesn’t look like a good time to be getting into the market.” He laughs. “Yes,” he confirms. “Cash.”

I return home and begin a series of phone calls. The number Rep has given me is to Retirement Services, and I get transferred again and again until one rep advises that I should put everything in writing and mail to Fidelity’s main office in Cincinnati. I itemize what is required:

  1. Establish Guardianship with Superior Court;
  2. Establish a blocked account for deposit of funds;
  3. Attach the Court Order to a Receipt and Acknowledgment of Order for The Deposit of Money Into Blocked Account form (copies attached), signed by depository (Fidelity).

I remind them to look at the Acknowledgement, which must be signed within 15 days of the deposit and returned to Court. I suggest a letter is not sufficient, but if that’s all they can do, be sure to include “Blocked Account” in the correspondence. Over a week later, I receive a letter from Client Services, saying the money has indeed been deposited. There is no mention of Blocked Account or the Receipt and Acknowledgement. Thanks for nothing.

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing research online, and find that the blocked account I should have opened and CLUELESS Fidelity representative should have known, was at a commercial bank, a blocked savings account for a minor. I take all my documentation to Chase and meet with the Branch Manager, who tells me Chase does handle these accounts, but they are pretty uncommon, so her office will have to consult with their guardianship department. She makes copies of all of my documents, and assigns one of her staff to the opening of the account, as soon as Fidelity releases the funds.  She suggests perhaps there is a grace period, because it’s only been two weeks since the deposit?

I call Retirement Services again, and I’m switched from one representative to another until I land in the Inheritance division. I’m told the money is now in an IRA, tax-deferred blocked account, and cannot be accessed without a court order.

“But you never signed the Acknowledgement,” I protest, “So the account is not technically linked with the original court order.” More holds, more representatives, until I’m assigned to someone with an actual extension number, who says he’ll see what he can do.

But it’s the same outcome. “You can only get the money out of the account with a court order.” Now I’m losing it. This is bullshit, I say more than once. Fidelity hasn’t signed anything to LINK them to the court order. I ask to speak to a supervisor and wait. Finally, a woman comes on the line, identifying herself as a Supervisor, I try to get somewhere with her, but it’s no-go. When I say Fidelity made a mistake, this is the wrong kind of account, she gets defensive. “Where did Fidelity make a mistake?” she asks. “You itemized everything in your letter, we did exactly what you asked us to do.”

“No,” I counter. “No one from Fidelity has signed the Acknowledgement and Receipt that I am supposed to turn in to the court and now my daughter’s money is locked in a retirement account instead of a savings. She’s 13, why would someone put her in a retirement account?”

Supervisor is non-plussed and continues to say the money cannot be released without a court order. We go back-and-forth until she says she will take the documents to Legal and get them to sign the Acknowledgement so that I can at least submit that to the Court.

Then, the kicker. She seems to suddenly realize that this account, being an IRA, will be subject to required distributions of a certain percent every year, each requiring a court order to release. She does the math and it’s approximately $100 a year.

I can’t believe what I’m hearing. “Now I’ll be required to go to court once a year for five years to acquire a court order to take out $100 each time?”

“I’m afraid so.”

Supervisor asks me to fax my letter and the Order to her, and I do. I get a call later saying a letter already went out, with the signed Acknowledgement and specific instructions about withdrawals. The letter arrives, with the signed Acknowledgement, and I return to the courthouse to file it.

Whilst in line at Probate, I start chatting with the woman in front of me, who turns out to be a lawyer! I describe the circus I’ve joined trying to get this money, and she suggests I might want to file an Ex Parte Petition to Withdraw Funds From A Blocked Account and get the judge to release the funds from Fidelity. I can do that?

She tells me to download the form from the Internet, look at the court’s self-help tab, it costs $60 to file, but might be worth it. I can’t stop thanking her, and once I’ve filed the bloody Acknowledgement, head home to explore this new avenue.

Sure enough, there’s form MC-357, fillable, and the instructions tell me to also fill out MC-358, the Order, with duplicate copies. I check out the Probate window hours, 8-8:30, and head over there next morning once I drop off the kids in carpool. I figure I’ll file this sucker, see if it flies, and if the judge says yes, it’s a win, if she says no, I’m no worse off for trying. I write out a check for $60, wait in line, the clerk is friendly and tells me to take my documents to Room 260. Wait, what?

Room 260 is a teeny room where one has to check in on a computer and stand in line with about a dozen other people jammed into this space. When I get to the desk, the clerk asks for my Petition and Order, original and copies, and I oblige.

“You might want to get something to eat or drink,” she says. “It’ll be about 20 minutes.”

HA!

Three hours later, still waiting, but I’ve made some friends, all lady lawyers,  working in Probate. They all have info for me. We debate the advantages of taking the money out or just getting a court order every year. We discuss how absurd this whole thing has been, especially with all the other dire, tragic, and real-life situations unfolding around us. Finally, my name is called, a Probate person shows me the order, says the earliest trial date I can get is in April, I say I don’t want a hearing date, just a transfer of funds, she says the judge won’t transfer the funds because of the possibility of tax issues. I tell Probate person that Fidelity has assured me that if it is done as soon as possible, we are still in a window that there will be no tax issues, so back she goes to speak to the judge again.

Another hour passes. Probate person comes out again, my name is still crossed out, the judge will only grant the Order if Fidelity transfers the funds straight to Chase, it’s that or wait until April for a hearing. I take the Order. I announce this decision to my new lady lawyer friends, and they agree it’s probably the best. One who was there earlier in the day but had to attend a hearing rejoins us.

“Wait, how much was the amount of the distribution?” she asks. I tell her $5,000, and she  whips open her laptop, punches a few keys and says, “Probate Section Code 34-12 says any amount $5000 and under doesn’t require a guardianship status, the money should be released to the parent. You should definitely lodge a complaint with Boeing. They have lawyers over there who should know better.”

taylor swift

YOU BET THERE WILL BE A COMPLAINT.

Posted in Day In Court, Parenting, Waste of Time | Leave a comment

“I love life, very much indeed.”

It’s still hard to believe he’s gone, but we have so much with which to remember him by. Extraordinary artist. “A collector.”

Posted in Inspiration, Music | Leave a comment

Spicy Lentil Tahini Wrap

I wanted to make my own Trader Joe’s Spicy Lentil Wrap with Tahini Sauce**, and found this recipe. Hat tip, Feasting At Home.

Spicy lentil tahini wrapI used precooked lentils from Trader Joe’s (found amongst lettuces and other greens), prepped all the other ingredients at home, made the tahini, and assembled. It was pretty darn awesome, and fresh! Check it. You can make a couple of these wraps, store in fridge, then make lentil soup with the rest.

Recipe (4 wraps):
steamed lentils
I cut right to the chase on this and used Trader Joe’s precooked lentils, added a little olive oil, cumin and coriander, stir, set aside.

Tahini:
2 tbsp. tahini paste
3 tbsp. warm water
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper
1 tsp. sriracha sauce (I’m probably one of the few on the planet who does not like sriracha, so I added cayenne pepper)

Wrap:
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
3 cups chopped cilantro and scallions
2 tbsp. toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/2 sliced avocado (optional)
3-4 lavash bread, warmed

Mix lentils with cumin, corainder, olive oil, salt to taste. In small bowl, using fork or tiny whisk, mix tahini paste, warm water, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, sriracha or flakes, until creamy. Prep all veggies.
Spread red pepper paste* or any other (hummus, etc.), on bottom third of lavash. Spread lentils, cover with cabbage, carrots, scallions. Roll up, like a small burrito. Spread red pepper paste or hummus to seal. Cut in half at a diagonal. Serve with spicy tahini sauce on the side.

Delicious Red Pepper Paste*

Recipe (for 3-4 wraps), hat tip, the kitchn.
3 medium bell peppers, cored and chopped
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
olive oil to cover (if refrigerating)

Combine bell peppers, cayenne, salt, in food processor, and puree. Pour the puree into a skillet over low heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a paste. This can take up to 2 hours. Let cool before using. To store, pack the paste into a jar, pour enough olive oil on top to cover (like pesto), and refrigerate.

Yum!

P.S. Trader Joe’s shows 75 grams carbohydrates, this recipe brought it down to 48. No explanation, just sayin’…

Posted in Food, Lunch Ideas, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment