Sunday, December 4, 2011


When I moved to San Francisco and started my Master's program, I sought stress relief in cooking and baking. To me, it cleared my mind of all other things because I was forced to concentrate specifically on what I was trying to make. I mastered all kinds of recipes from cheesecakes to chicken to name it. After a while, I started to get used to how flavors combined and began to give my own twists to recipes. Countless hours of Food Network helped as well.

One of the things I am most proud of is my stuffing recipe. I have made it every year for about the last 7 years. Not to toot my own horn, but it is pretty much the BEST STUFFING EVER. Seriously, it's amazing. AND SUPER EASY PEASY TO MAKE! Are you ready, cause this will change your life! :)

Sara's Super Simple Awesome Stuffing

You will need:

2 sticks of unsalted butter (see? the best recipes ALWAYS start with butter...Thanks, Paula Dean! )
1 bag of unseasoned bread cubes OR 2 loaves of stale bread (You can leave them on the counter for a day and they are crispy enough)
FRESH parsley
FRESH sage
3 eggs
Turkey broth or Chicken broth
Romano Cheese (the grated kind)
Salt and pepper (I use grinders)

Melt the butter over medium heat. Chop the celery (including the leaves! SOOOOO MUCH FLAVOR!) and onion into small pieces to your liking. Add to pan with melted butter. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the onion is fairly translucent. Beat eggs and add a few tablespoons of water. In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the eggs. Add the onion and celery buttery goodness. Chop up a handful or so of parsley. Do the same with about 1/2 the amount of sage. (NOTE: did you know that if you freeze fresh herbs that they last longer and they are WAY easier to chop up? They thaw super fast as you are chopping). Mix in a few handfuls of Romano cheese. Put stuffing into a roasting pan. Add about 3 cups of broth (If it's Thanksgiving or any other day for turkey (which I guess could be like, a Wednesday or Flag Day because every day could be a celebration with turkey) use about 3 basters full of drippings and then add some broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix together lightly. Cover the pan with foil and put into a 350 degree oven for about an hour. Every 15 minutes stir it up and check the liquid. Add more drippings or broth as necessary to kept the stuffing moist. For the last 15 minutes, remove the foil completely to get the wonderful crispies on the top.


Also, you can do stuffing muffins. Coat a muffin tin with  cooking spray and then portion the uncooked stuffing into the tin. Cook at same temp for about 20-30 minutes, depending on tin size.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Black Friday Virgin

Since I have had a week to recover (READ: DRINK) I can now retell how I lost my Black Friday virginity. I suppose I could say I was a newbie, but this is was a violating experience. There is no other appropriate way.

For some unknown reason I decided that I was going to go Black Friday Shopping for the first time this year. Alone. AT WALMART. Oh wait, it gets better...I WANTED LEGO DUPLOS. I had attempted to go to Toys R Us last year in California with a neighbor, but when we got there, the line was wrapped around the entire building, twice. Yeah, not so much. We drove home and I curled up with my laptop and leftover turkey in my pj pants. This year, we have a tight Christmas budget. I wanted to stretch it as far as possible.

I left Isaac with Ben, at his parents' house and drove back to our local Walmart. I had changed into my sneakers and my hair was in a ponytail. I had my GAME FACE ON. It was a little past 8. I got a rock start parking spot close to the doors. I played on my iPhone for a bit, and noticed an increase of people walking into the store. At 8:10. I figured I could go in and walk around, since I needed things that weren't on crazy sales, like dogfood, shampoo...etc.Upon entering the store, I noticed no one was wearing a coat or a purse. Because clearly purses are for sissies. I returned to my car to drop off said items. I BARELY GOT A CART.

I decided to scope out the layout to see where the things that I wanted were located (side note: I had to run to Walmart the night before because we were out of coffee.). All the specials were on pallets, and shrink wrapped with signs saying they weren't available until 10 pm. I wanted to see where my pallets were. Oh, and they were handing out MAPS. MAPS OF PALLETS IN WALMART.

By 8:30 I could barely maneuver down the aisles. There were people camped out EVERYWHERE, waiting for the electronics to go on sale AT MIDNIGHT. The megaminds of the Black Friday sale had at least had the forethought to disperse said electronics and gaming systems throughout the store and not cluster them in their proper department. Apparently people had been waiting for the XBox for like, 7 hours or something. These people must hate turkey. And pie. And in my mind those people do NOT deserve an XBox. That's like anti-American or something.

I fought my way BACK to the toy section where the pallet of Legos was sandwiched between some weird rocking horse things and Disney princess dress up trunks. There were more people there than had been when I first passed the area. I camped out right in front of the pallet, pushing my cart against an aisle shelf. I quickly made friends with another Lego stalker, I mean, shopper. I don't know her name. But I know she wanted one  red carton of legos. I wanted the green. It was 8:45.

By 9, my new BFF was like, laying on the Lego pallet. I was guarding the carts. She was hardcore. A beast. The hardcore beast of Legos. I am pretty sure every toy has one.

By 9:30, my phone was ready to die. That was probably the most active I have ever been on Twitter in a short amount of time since my maternity leave (killing time waiting for Legos...killing time waiting for the next feeding...SAME). I had texted all about my new BFF and how I was pretty sure that I wouldn't make it out of  Walmart alive. I was one tiny person. I told Ben to tell Isaac that Mommy loved him and TO MAKE SURE HE GOT HIS LEGOS SO I DIDN'T DIE IN VAIN. It's like he didn't take me seriously though, because he didn't respond to that text. WHATEVS.

About 9:45 the banging and thuds started. There were a few screams. There were cops roaming around. And I am pretty sure the Walmart workers were packing some heat or at least bear mace. DAMMIT I WAS DETERMINED TO GET THE LEGOS. I HAD WAITED THIS LONG.

I had also made another friend to told me that it was like Walmart was trying to start riots. Last year, you could put stuff into your cart, you just couldn't check out until after 10pm. FLAW IN THE SYSTEM.

I was edging my way closer to BFF1 because apparently people didn't understand THERE WAS A PECKING ORDER HERE AND NO CUTSIES!

At about 9:55pm the shrink wrap was flying. So were the Legos. I GOT MINE! AND I PASSED A SET TO BFF2 with the help of BFF1.

Somehow I managed to get back to my cart and semi-navigate through the throngs of crazies...I mean shoppers. I managed to get everything on my list but the iPad cover. I wasn't brave enough to try to go through the electronics sections. By the time I made it to the $1.96 movies, there were like 5 left. COME TO REALIZE THESE MOVIES ARE ONLY $5 regularly. NOT WORTH A FINGER OR ARM PEOPLE.

I was out of Walmart by 10:20 with 4 sets of pjs, THE LEGOS!, a play doh set, 3 games, and table and chair set you could write all over and erase or something.

It took about 2 and half hours and 20 years off my life. But I am pretty sure I will go back next year.

MAYBE. Only if there are Legos.