MONDAY MUNCHIES: Tater Tot Casserole

For the life of me I can't remember who I got this gem from.  Wish it would come to me so I can thank and give them a high five!  It's the quintessential dish for any tailgater, bar, picnic, superbowl, etc.  Pretty much any laid back non-fancy party where the drink of choice is mostly beer.  This is the kind of dish that is a hit with people of the hootin and hollerin variety.  Or where there's a hardcore game of cornhole in session.

So, recently I was rooting around on my baking station (a converted desk in the kitchen with all my gadgets and supplies) looking for some vintage cookie cutters and came across a handwritten recipe for Tater Tot Casserole.  I grabbed a fridge magnet and stuck the index card to the side to remind me that it would make a great Sunday Football dish someday soon.  Well, yesterday was that day!  The original had a tub of sour cream which I changed to french onion dip.  We happened to have some Pepperjack cheese so a 1/2 cup of each was mixed in instead of a full cup of sharp cheddar..  I used fried onions instead of real.  I even put it into a PowerPoint pic for you.  And added the most important part in my eyes to make it a Po Man's dish besides the Tots:  WIENERS!!  Mostly because it's a great word to say.  Wieners.

"Would you like to try my casserole?" 
"Maybe some other time."
"Did I mention it has WIENER'S in it?"
"Well of course!  Load me up!"

Next time I might try adding a 1/2 tub of the dip and 1/2 tub sour cream which would cut down the onion taste a little since there are cheddar fried onions in it also.  There is so much flavor that a cage fight will happen in your mouth upon each bite. 




It's November again.  Say what?  2011 has flown by in its usual manner.  I've heard that the older you become, the faster time seems to slip away.  I suppose there is truth in that.  Maybe it's because you slowly lose your sense of wonderment.  "You mean I'm an ADULT already?  Jeez."  There are more things to occupy your hours.  Stress.  Gadgets.  Stuff.

As much as I shudder at the mention of "Eh. Winter." the changing seasons have been a part of my life since birth.  I can't imagine living somewhere farther up north or down south that doesn't experience all four.  Although in the dead of old man winter's grip at 15 degrees when my snot is frozen, I'd gladly trade with the chick who's learning to boogie board in the Pacific Islands.  It's a change that is necessary I think, not just in the sense of mother nature for me.  It's the time of year to slow down a little.  Contemplate.  Hibernate and ponder.  Then prepare for Spring, rebirth and excitement of warmer breezes.

So, if someone grabbed my arm behind my back and gave me an Indian Rug Burn and told me to pick a favorite season...I'd be forced to say, "Alright!  It's Autumn!  Get off!!" 

This time of year brings back fond memories of...

  ...skips in the woods, swan dives into leaves...

Photo by Muffet
...collecting acorns and other woodland doo dads...

...stovetop hot chocolate with mini's...

...homemade noodle soup...

So this Thankful Thursday I'm very grateful for my appreciation of nature.  For my amazing parents who raised me to be down to earth and take notice of the little things that matter.  I recommend that everyone slow down a bit...from time to time is all...just an hour here and there.  Take a deep breath.  Notice how a tree sways.  Ponder the changing of seasons and what it means to you.  I know you can do it.



I believe in fashion faux pas.  As a matter of fact I'll go a step further and say for the record that, "I love that shit!"  Let me elaborate further.

SCENERIO 1:  You pass someone on the street who is wearing a very nice pair of creased jeans, a Coronado Island Hollister sweater, perfectly wrapped coordinated scarf and designer boots.  A pleasant ensemble.

SCENERIO 2:  You pass someone on the street who is wearing a mismatched, vintage, colorful and offbeat creation.  Free spirited craaaziness!  Aaah! 

Who would catch your eye and make you smile?  If you picked number one...I still like you.  No worries.  Don't beat yourself up.

So, I've been trying to organize my millions of pictures from the 80's and 90's which was the catalyst for this post.  Back in the day we actually PRINTED photos and put them in shoeboxes?  You mean if we took a crap picture, that was it?  The moment was lost?  Awww....that blows.

It's WFT Wednesday, so here are a few fabulous reminders of the outfits of yesteryear.  Oh how I loved the days of wearing whatever you wanted.  It was celebrated.  Free.  Kind of like present day fashion but everything seemed to be tighter, bigger and crazier.  A lot of WTF's.  (in a good way.)

THE NEON:  In your FACE!

THE DENIM:  All over the PLACE!

The men were in touch with their feminine side.

Legwarmers and Headbands:  Lots of working out to be done. 

When dressing hoochie was cool.

Over the top cheesiness was CELEBRATED!!

Here are some Quick tips for restoring vintage pics.  And remember..."don't play it safe!"



I knew Cincinnati had their problems with homelessness and the unemployed just like every other city, but what?  According to this article, 48% of the children in Cincinnati are living in poverty.  I need to research the percentage for Northern Kentucky, gather information on how I can help and raise awareness for our Tristate.  The recent story on Cincinnati.com focuses on a struggling family and the school they attend. 

Oyler is among the schools that has partnered with several local anti-poverty agencies, including the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, the city health department and the Freestore Foodbank, to help children growing up in poverty get basic needs, such as basic medical care and food.

Oyler is one of 80 sites for the Freestore's Power Pack program, which provides two or three nutritious meals for children on weekends. In 2009-10, the Freestore gave out 74,000 packs, a number that increased to 127,000 the next school year and is expected to increase this year, said Anna Hogan, Freestore communications manager.

More than 1 in 5 children in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are at risk of missing their next meal.  Data from a Feeding America analysis of the Freestore Foodbank's service area showed late this summer that 22.3 percent of local children (under 18) are food insecure.

I've been pondering what to do for Thanksgiving this year.  Volunteer in a soup kitchen, buy more canned goods than usual for the food banks, put together packs of medical supplies / toiletries or simply donate money.  There are so many in need and it seems each winter is getting colder and colder.  I can't imagine how hard it is for some and I want to make a difference.

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