Kitchen Witchin … Early June Edition

First Tales From The Nursery could probably use some hugs right about now since it’s almost bedtime on the first Sunday of Summer Vacation, so please stop over and give her one, ok? She’s an awesome momma and an awesome lady & she’s taking The Orange Rhino Challenge and she’s doing really well with it. Plus she’s just all ’round amazing so please go give her a hug :*


3 timezones away, it’s also the first Sunday of Summer Vacation since MadiKinz93TheUnicorn is on vacation having safely arrived at her destination. Nikki  has been sending her Project Updates to add to the site though 🙂 (since that’s a summer occupation) and I’m 8100 words into Le Capstone … and 8 more books to read for it LOL but it’s overall going well and if you’re interested in participating in my survey for it, go ahead and hit me up via email 🙂  (and no, even though I suggested that Diary of a Zookeeper  try it, I haven’t been over to Five Minute Friday at LisaJoBaker’s site this week).


But right now it’s time to take a break from all that for some Kitchin Witchin …

Last night we had fabulous grilled chicken w/ satay sauce, Asian salad, and grilled zucchini with Szechuan Spice.

There’s chicken ready to go on the grill for grilled chicken Cesar salads.

Greek salads are going to be put together after I build some Tzatziki (from the awesome Lemon Bowl site!)  for tomorrow’s lunches.

Cherry, Almond & Balsamic will be the salad for Tuesday.

Wednesday might be some sort of tuna torture.

Thursday’s lunches will probably be Cesar salads.

Friday’s lunches will be whatever we’re not tired of by the time we get there 😉

Carrot sticks will be made for hummus dipping.

Need to figure out something to do with zucchini & fish for tonight …

And our favorite stuffed peppers will end up on the menu somewhere this week.


found this on Pinterest - it fits - even when my pants don't

found this on Pinterest – it fits – even when my pants don’t


And just as a point of note … if someone contacts you through your “contact us” (or Contact Robert) link, if you choose to write back to them (or have interns doing it for you) have a double check on the spelling of the person’s name. I was reading the book for my capstone … I emailed the author … he wrote back & misspelled my name. Um gee, should I give the books props in my Capstone? Or just its editors?

Honestly, it’s better for a fan to NOT hear back at all than to get an email with their name spelled wrong. An automated response loop would even get that correct.


kitchen witchin – broccoli style ;)

Making these delicious patties of nom tonight (using our artisan metal works mats so that we don’t have to deal with foil and cooking spray) they’re awesome for a quick vegetable on the go!


Baked Cheese & Broccoli Patties
yield: 8 broccoli patties

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic – minced
1/2 onion – chopped
1 (12 ounce) bag frozen broccoli – defrosted
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs – beaten

preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat, add in the garlic and onions. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Sauté until onions are garlic are tender, set aside to cool.

Add the broccoli to a kitchen towel. Wrap the towel around the broccoli and squeeze out the extra moisture. Pour the drained broccoli into a large bowl, add the onion and garlic and mix gently.

To the same bowl, add the panko, the cheeses, eggs, and salt/pepper to taste.
Mix together and form into patties, place on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 15 minutes or until browned and crispy.

Menu Plan Monday – Inspired by Mama24Boys at Tales from The Nursery

If you haven’t visited the most adorable 4 brothers and their amazing (really, she’s amazing – raising 4 boys in a life of faith, family and healthy living) mom at please do. In addition to being an awesome mom, Mama24Boys has some awesome recipes, so visit her 🙂

And now, inspired by her post this morning – here’s the menu plan here this week (thankfully I don’t have to deal with t-ball and “in school” this summer means that I’m writing my capstone, thankfully not writing my capstone AND taking 2 other classes like I was in spring 2012!):

also for the quiet file on fb 2

Lunches during the work week will be salads or turkey wraps depending on which cycle of my journey I’m on … and of course yogurt … and lemon water … and green tea

Monday – Chicken Shawarma for a lunch & leftovers for supper (from Sunday’s crockpot roasted turkey breast & veggies)

Tuesday – Slow Cooker Green Chili (which I thought I had previously posted … but evidently haven’t … hmmm …)
Wednesday – last night of school – grilled steaks

Thursday – Asian BBQ Chicken & Broccoli Slaw (this recipe except with boneless skinless chicken breast not thighs)

Friday – stuffed bell peppers (lean ground turkey mixed w/ meatloaf flavored tomato sauce stuffed in red bell peppers and then cooked in the crockpot all day)

Saturday -probably my bastardized version of 17 day diet chili (sorry the one in the book isn’t my cup of tea; I need SPICY not tomato sauce & onion … homemade taco seasoning & El Pato get the job done)

That’s as far ahead as I’m planning. MadiKinz93theUnicorn is journeying on the 7th of June … so planning is as planning does …

also for the quiet file on facebook

Sugar free flour free chocolate cake – adapted from

I think I may have mastered the (flavor at least) sugar free flour free chocolate cake

3/4 c each original eggbeaters & agave
1/2 c cocoa powder
2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
6 oz light vanilla greek yogurt
4 squares unsweetened bakers chocolate (1 oz ea)
1/4 c coconut oil + some to grease pans

Preheat oven to 350 or whatever your coconut oil is rated for. Line 2 8-inch cake pans with foil & lightly grease w/ coconut oil (leave enough foil overhang so you can lift cakes from pans to cooling racks after baking)

Blend the eggbeaters, agave, cocoa powder, whey protein & yogurt w/ a spatula in a large mixing bowl & set aside

In a smaller microwave bowl, place the 4 ooz of baker’s choco & coconut oil. Microwave for about 2 minutes & stir til smooth (adding more time in 15 second intervals if it isn’t long enough) (it will be hot, use pot holders to remove from microwave & place it on a trivet not directly on the counter after).

Add the melted chocolate mixture to the other mixture & whisk to combine until it’s smooth & all one color.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or til the centers are set. Cool 5 minutes in pans and then lift out to bakers racks to cool completely.

Kitchen Witchin – April

The cauldron’s been busy this week with some firsts and some favorites.

Here are the firsts:

from the chive

from the chive

Stuffed Peppers

40 oz lean ground turkey

1 1/2 cans of Meatloaf tomato sauce

5-6 large bell peppers (what fits comfortably in your crockpot)

  • Mix the turkey & the meatloaf tomato sauce in a bowl. Let it sit.
  • Meanwhile, cut the tops off the peppers & scoop out the seeds & membranes.
  • Wrap the peppers in pieces of aluminum foil (leave the tops open)
  • Stuff the peppers with spoonsful of the meat mixture.
  • Put any remaining meat in a labeled ziplock bag in your freezer.
  • Place the foil wrapped peppers in the crockpot, put the lid on & let cook on low while you’re at work
another chive pic

another chive pic

Sugar-Free Strawberry Jam

Not sure if this worked or not … time will tell 😉

from pinterest

from pinterest

Bastardized Crust-less Quiche / Make-ahead omelettes / Mom’s damn tired of spending 90 minutes in the kitchen every morning …

1 carton thawed eggbeaters

veggies, seasonings & cheese of choice

cooking spray (I loathe Monsanto … I wonder how hard it would be to aeresolize olive oil on my own … probably not worth the cost of building the lab, huh?)

  • Spray 2 glass 9″ pie pans with cooking spray. Pour 1/2 the carton of eggbeaters into each. Sprinkle with Greek Seasoning (I like Cavender’s All-Purpose Greek Seasoning).
  • Sautee veggies of choice in olive oil (I used red pepper, onion, tomato, spinach & garlic for one; mushroom, tomato, spinach & garlic for the other).
  • Mix veggies with eggbeaters & seasoning.
  • Top with cheese if desired.
  • Put a piece of herb or a vegetable in the middle of one pan to distinguish it from the other.
  • Cover in foil. Place in fridge overnight.
  • Guesstimate that it’s going to take 45 minutes at 350 degrees to cook them & post it on your blog 😉

(not really kitchen) Witchin – Easter Editchin

First the disclaimers:

  • if you’re offended that this is about Easter, take a hike. It’s my blog.
  • if you’re going to chew on me because of my church attendance (11 out of 13 days last year during the 2 weeks before Easter; haven’t been since First Communion) find another chew toy … I’m not listening; if you want to change my frustrations, you should have stepped up a year ago when I was inches from the mental ledge and helped me then. it’s too late now. I walked away.
  • if you’re looking forward to Easter as a day when you can add back whatever you gave up for Lent, don’t tell me about it … because I try to make Lent (regardless of my church attendance) a time of starting permanent changes. don’t tell me how much you’ll enjoy indulging in 40 days of whatever … no I’m not telling you what those changes are or have been or will be … the purpose of penance is to deepen your personal journey to whatever through self-improvement … and it’s specifically supposed to NOT involve being a show-off about it.
  • no, I didn’t change my profile photo on any social network to the equality symbol today. do you really want to live in a world where people like me think that their friends/visitors/followers/etc are going to change their mind because of something I said or did? ha!
  • Also, do you really want to live in a world where folks like me limit their action to social networking? because there’s a pretty good chance that I was volunteering at a scholarship fundraiser for women in engineering & geology the other day … and that I invest a pretty hefty chunk of time (the equivalent of a full time job on top of the paid full time job that I do type chunk) into various forms of volunteerism throughout the year … if you don’t like it FINE. do it yourself.
  • if you’re offended by my language, don’t follow my blog, it’s that simple. it’s here for my self-expression.

OK? we good now? you’re still willing to keep reading? really? Alrighty then …

This started out to be a post about Easter food. Turns out the Easter food of my youth (and even my adulthood) isn’t out there to be found on Pinterest or AllRecipe or any of the usual haunts of Kitchen Witchin. So you’ll just have to take my word for it – Easter is a holiday. there is food. it’s delicious. no, I wouldn’t ask you to eat it.

And this year my family decided on lasagna. Fine with me. Lasagna it is. And I’m not spending 11 of 13 days so deeply enmeshed in church activities that I forestall seeking appropriate medical care for 12 hours from what turned out to be an injury that I’m still healing from a year later … that works for me this year.

Nobody ever really knows how strange their family is until they’re adults, right?

Right. That’s why we tell our daughter “we’ll pay for therapy OR college, not both” 🙂


An Open Letter to Cable One

Dear Cable One,

Please reform your corporate culture to stop saying “eff you” to people who choose to dwell in the beauty & splendor of rural areas.

Please stop trying to tell me it’s my modem (we’ve changed that EIGHT times).

Please stop telling me I need a service call you’ve checked the wiring THREE TIMES IN 58 WEEKS (GTFO I’m starting to think y’all are Jasper & Horace from 101 Dalmatians and that you’re going to give my dog to Cruella Deville to make a GSD Coat).

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE teach your local techs that GRADUATE SCHOOL is not code for the state pen – I REALLY am in graduate school. I really DO have homework to do and because of you and your inability to conceive that anyone would use their internet connection for anything other than pr0n or pirating music, MY academic life is being affected.

Last night during a 45 minute conference with 3 classmates about the status and needs of our EPA Proposal to reduce the waste of the publishing industry, my connection dropped SIX TIMES. When my other half called to complain the tech noticed that the modem had cycled TEN TIMES in that 45 minute window. and then offered us a service call. GET OUT OF MY HOUSE AND FIX THE INFRASTRUCTURE. WE PAY YOU FOR SERVICE. WE PAY YOU FOR INSURANCE ON THE SERVICE AND YET IT SUCKS AND YOU’RE NOT EVEN APOLOGETIC ABOUT IT.

Thank you for not giving a damn about education, the environment, or the fact that you’re creeping me OUT with the # of times y’all want to come to my house & tell me nothing’s wrong with the wiring. If you want to try my cooking, pay your donation like everyone else and go to the Soup Fest at the church and get it there.


The Kitchen Witch, English Grad Student, AccountantMom


Trying this Today: Perfect Pot Roast | The Pioneer Woman Cooks | Ree Drummond

Perfect Pot Roast | The Pioneer Woman Cooks | Ree Drummond.

A couple of confessions of my own 😉

We are out of carrots – the guinea pigs ate them all.

The roast is a Beef Arm Roast – because our freezer still has plenty of 4H meat from longer ago than I’d like to admit.

We are out of stock – all kinds – the Kitchen Witch used them 😉 so Bullion and a splash of worsterchire (never spelled correctly TYVM) were used instead (and wine isn’t in my home unless it’s going as a gift to someone … I have the tolerance of a baby kitten and the hangover propensity of a bad movie … I can’t even take Tylenol or Motrin w/out a rebound headache … so alcohol and I are generally not friends)

And I put the whole thing in a 13x9x2 pyrex after I did the sautee pan step – because even my huge Calphalon omelette pan wasn’t deep enough to make this without making a hugeeee mess and the only pan bigger doesn’t have an ovenproof handle

I used bacon drippings instead of olive oil and/or butter … it’s the only day all week that we’re all home for all meals … so they’re hearty and homey. errr something like that … breakfast after picking MadiKinz93theUnicorn up from KBeanz house was pancakes & bacon; the midday meal will be this perfect potroast with onions, sauteed zucchini and mashed potatoes. The late day meal will be leftover pizza from DeMarco’s – spinach, broccoli & mushroom on white for me, pepperoni on red for my other half and MKinz can have whichever …

Discoveries …

The past week has been interesting. Adding a 34 page proposal on top of the usual mix of work/school/mom/etc definitely pushed the limits of my sanity & ability to coexist peaceably with others by 5pm Friday.

But along the way I discovered the following –

First, The Perks of Being a Wallflower has become one of my all-time favorite movies and I’m so glad that I rented that instead of watching that awards show that every other blog on the face of the internet has been talking about since Sunday. Also, if you’re a mom and you try not to let the laundry steal your sanity, you will end up wearing the same black & white striped cami / black sweater / black dress slacks combo 3x in a Friday to Friday span … and it will be clean every time you wear it … indicating that it might be time to lighten up on the laundry a little LOL

Second, I got eaten alive by some kind of really itchy bugs last Saturday at Ren Faire

Third – it’s possible to make a double batch of deliciousness during an hour-long sports practice … as evidenced at this site: – where there were the most fabulous PB & J Blondies

Fourth – my reputation as The Anti-Marketing Maven has stopped preceding me in battle … someone had the audacity to tell me I should “go pro” in marketing because I successfully green-washed Pampers with sufficient research … I’m sorry, the only BS in my life is in a frame stashed on a shelf in the closet next to my desk … I won’t be making a career of it anytime soon; but thanks for the A on the project, I did work my tail off for it.

Fifth – that split infinitives are easier to recognize than to describe in a conversation … to boldly go … stupid Star Trek … everyone knows Star Wars is superior

Sixth …

And the 300+ page Salt River Allotments Vegetative Management preliminary environmental impact study (which you can download at this site  – public comments are welcome until early April, if you’re interested, speak up – email addresses etc below in the original blurbs I put together about this and other TNF news for an environmental communication project this week)

Seventh …

The music of Eliza Doolittle, Joss Stone, and Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears.

Eighth …

And really? I’m trying not to get really tired of being sequestered to sneakers all the time – which is definitely a more comfortable accommodation than the 16 weeks I spent last year in that damn boot/walking cast thing – but really? I’m looking at pretty spring dresses & realizing that I’m stuck in black dress pants until I can start wearing “real” shoes again in early August. 5 more months.

Good thing I’m reading AJ Jacob’s The Year of Living Biblically because it reminds me that there are more significant pita than the sneakers 😉

Ninth … I’m tired of Lent already … specifically: I wanted Gyros for lunch on Friday … and the cheese crisp I had instead sent me to the Tums 2x between 12pm and 5pm. At least gyros would’ve been worth the heart burn …

Tenth … I’m not in the least bit ready for the HFMA CHFP exam that is haunting me … I’ve got til 4/30 to sit for the exam. YIKES.

Eleventh  – putting this first because I have NO idea if it’s really going to work, but I ordered the yarn and will try it this week …

Twelfth – watching movies with Kristin Stewart and Winona Ryder back to back is a BAD IDEA – bad acting is bad acting … (and I can’t decide, having seen it now, if the last Twilight movie was the worst of the movies or just doing the best they could with what was left of the story line … )

Thirteenth – I didn’t miss anything in the last season of AMC’s The Walking Dead … because I was asleep less than 10 minutes in to the 2nd episode …


What’s New In the National Forest?

Residents of our region enjoy the Tonto National Forest every day. Here’s what’s new:

Signal Peak’s Communication Permit up for Renewal in April

Signal Peak’s communication permit is up for renewal in April. Along with 26 other permits including those issued for communication sites on Humboldt Mountain, Carol Springs, Blackjack and Cooks Mesa, Signal Peak’s communication site permit is expired. The National Forest Service proposal is to reissue the permit for ongoing activity. If you’d like to learn more, visit: or contact Rebecca Hoffman at

Land-Swap to Provide Camp Consolidation for Kids

Currently, the USFS is working to swap some lands in the Tonto National Forest (and 3 others) for land in the Pinetop region. The purpose of the Pinetop land would be to provide consolidated camps for children, rather than the existing isolated special use camps. The project is estimated to complete in December of this year. If you’d like to learn more, visit or contact Randall Chavez at

Fossil Creek to Get River Management Plan

Building on the 2009 declaration of Fossil Creek as a “wild and scenic river” by Congress, and the Public Input received over the ensuing years, 2013 will bring a Comprehensive River Management Plan to Fossil Creek scheduled to be completed in July. To learn more visit:  or contact Elizabeth Dykstra at

Firefighters Needed in Arizona and New Mexico to Ensure the Ecosystem of the National Forests

The Southwestern Region (region 3) of the National Forest Service has 10 positions to fill this fire-season in Arizona and New Mexico.  Qualified candidates may view the Consolidated Outreach Statement here: Applications are due by March 22, 2013.

Livestock Grazing Management Evaluation Pending

The time for public comments is now – February 22 through April 8. Public comments and ideas pertaining to the grazing and management of the plant life in the Tonto National Forest / Salt River Region to This autumn, the US Forest Service will be reevaluating the Salt River Allotments Vegetative Management. To download the report visit:

Margarita Chicken and Red Rice with links to Sliders and Peasant Bread

If I offended you with my earlier posts … remember: I haven’t changed, you just got to know me better 🙂


I am outspoken, pugnacious, hedonistic, and unabashedly myself.

It’s ok.

I’m not trying to change you either ❤

Anyway … there are some fabulous recipes that I’ve enjoyed preparing that I thought I’d share with you (no, I’m not on the Paleo, 17 Day Diet (geez, don’t abbreviate that or you end up with a doctorate of divinity hidden in your post!) or any other special eating plan now, so you’ll have to edit for your personal needs/preferences … or you can just console yourself with knowing I’m about 50 pounds beyond fluffy … and that’s ok too)

If you’re not familiar with Big Red Kitchen, you’re missing out on some great recipes – but the reason we fell in love with the site is because there’s no such thing as White Castle here in rural Arizona, and after 4 1/2 years of living here, there was a need for sliders in my home.

Thus we have added this to our “need food from back east” list (along with the shawarma recipe that I posted earlier … because Middle Eastern food is also a non-commodity in rural AZ … if you want chile, or chili, or ghost peppers baby you’re in the right place, but if you want to feel like you’re back in the 518, the 716, the 248, the 313, the 734 or their neighbors you’re s.o.l. … unless you’re in your own kitchen!)

Big Red Kitchen White Castle Sliders

And here are others that we enjoy making and sharing with others:

Alexandra’s Kitchen Peasant Bread – (I have some mountains of rural AZ modifications for this one, but the people who need them have received them, so I’ll leave it alone here, except to tell you that it’s made otherwise sane & normal people eat grilled cheese for breakfast … and no, I’m not talking about me … I’m neither normal nor sane)

Back to the original recipes I was planning to share here 🙂

Margarita Chicken Crock Pot Recipe – from the Southwest Slow Cooker Recipe

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup margarita mix
1/4 cup tequila
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp water
lime wedges
Original Directions
Mix the margarita mix, tequila, honey, cayenne, basil, cumin & olive oil together in a small bowl.

Poke holes in the chicken and put in crock pot; pour sauce over it.

Let cook on low for 5-6 hours. (I used frozen chicken breasts & cooked it for 10 because that’s how long I was gone today – it came out just fine)

Remove chicken to a platter in a 200* oven to keep warm.

Mix flour and water together and then add to sauce in crockpot – whisk together – cook over high heat for 10 minutes.

Serve chicken over Spanish rice with the sauce poured over the top and with lime wedges on the side.

How I Really Make It

Put boneless skinless chicken breast in a ziplock bag (or use one of those bags of frozen IQF chicken breasts which is already IN the bag LOL), pour the margarita mix (I prefer the one that has 0 or 10 calories in it – the former is by Jose Cuervo, the latter is by Mix Masters and has The Biggest Loser seal of approval on it) and the spices into the bag (I prefer to skip the olive oil and honey – you can do what you like). Seal the bag, put it on a plate and let it marinate in the fridge over night.

In the morning, I pour the whole thing into the crockpot (I prefer – despite it’s ability to only survive a year at 3x/week use in my kitchen – Hamilton Beach 33967) and set it on low.

At night when it’s done (um we’re home LOL) I spoon the sauce into a sauce pan and mix a slurry of corn-starch (or flour) and water and whisk it til it’s thick like gravy to serve over it. My family likes it with warm tortillas, Spanish Rice (recipe follows), queso fresco and lime wedges if I didn’t forget to buy limes LOL


Spanish Rice – you can choose to skip the tomato sauce & just make really delicious seasoned rice that goes great with EVERYTHING, your choice

This one takes some practice … every person makes it differently … and it doesn’t come out the same 2x so caveat emptor or whatever Latin phrase you like 🙂

2 cups of instant rice

margarine or butter to your liking

garlic powder

black pepper

15 oz of tomato sauce

1 tsp of salt

14 oz of chicken stock

(for your sanity, open all the cans first, please)

In your favorite skillet (one that has the lid that fits and the spatter-screen that keeps the back-splash over the stove clean … I prefer 9″ cast-iron for this project, you can use whatever you like), over medium high heat melt your butter or margarine (I use enough country crock that when it’s melted it coats the bottom of the pan – this really is personal preference, some people like more, others less, some people are following cardiologist’s orders or trying to avoid having a cardiologist on their speed-dial, so exercise your choice of cautions ok? I’m not a doctor (yet) and when I do become one it’ll be the PhD variety not the MD variety, so don’t trust your heart to my cooking)

When the margarine is melted add the rice and stir as it gets coated with the margarine (I prefer to stir with something that looks like this: – you use what works for you)

Season with garlic powder and black pepper (this is totally a preference thing, as much or as little as you like; you can add other seasonings such as cumin or Mrs Dash or any of Trader Joe’s vile spice mixes (which I personally despise but plenty of people love) – do not add anything with salt at this point, it’s not time for that)

when everything’s beautiful and golden … maybe 3 minutes of constant stirring? … turn the pan down to low …

Make sure your spatter shield is within reach, turn the  … and pour the tomato sauce into the pan …. it’s going to bubble and spit … stir it well (this is where the stir-fry spatula comes in better handy than a wooden spoon because it  increases the surface area of the pan that you’re stirring against) and put the spatter shield on it and let it cook on low until the tomato sauce is mostly absorbed and the rice looks like it’s colored reddish instead of swimming in the tomato sauce.

Add the chicken stock, stir well, add the salt, stir well. Put the lid on and simmer over low for about 20 minutes or until the chicken stock is absorbed (this part is tricky because it depends on relative humidity and how hot the pan is and all sorts of stuff … which is why I got to the point of using cast-iron with mine, it’s the most consistent performer; I love my calphalon pans but they’re just too fickle on my gas range at this elevation (oops there’s a word that angers people … they don’t like to know that it’s altitude when it’s in the air and elevation when it’s on the land … my endless apologies for being a language nerd … or not … since the people that offended have long ago bailed LOL)