Monday, December 14, 2015

I've Been Lax

I have been lax lately , and I am not talking about jetting off to Los Angeles type of LAX. Forgive me people of blogland.  I started December with the best of intentions and have seriously failed.  I am back today but I have to admit I am feeling a little weak in the resolve department.  Life has been slapping me around a little lately (like it does everyone at this time of the year) and like everyone else, I am just trying to keep my head above the water most days.

Today's post is a sad tale of the sad decline of someone who really loves fantastic food.  I am trying to stay away from the grocery store a bit longer this month and except to buy salad stuff and fruits I have not been shopping all of December.  I think that is going to change that tomorrow since I really do need to hit Aldi's for mushrooms and butter, but thus far we have been eating from the pantry and freezer. Needless to say, our pickings are getting seriously slim.  And what a better segue to tonights sad little meal than to mention our lack of choices.  I am sure you have all had variations of this meal and tonights is one of the least extravagant I have ever made. Still, it tasted very good, and even warranted seconds.

Tater Tot Casserole
1 1/4 lbs. ground beef, browned
1 large onion, chopped
2 quick shakes garlic powder
2 stalks celery (just because I had 2 that were about to ruin)
1 small tomato, diced (ditto)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup or the equivalent amount of thickened white sauce with mushrooms
2 tablespoons steak sauce (I make my own but it is similar to Heinz 57)
salt and pepper to taste
enough tater tots to cover a 9x9 inch pan
1/2 cup cheese

Brown the ground beef and when the meat looses its color add the onions.  Cook until they are wilted and add the remaining vegetables, garlic powder and parsley.  Cook until they are softened, add the mushroom soup, steak sauce and salt and pepper.  Stir well and pour into a 9x9 oven safe dish. Cover the top of the meat mixture with tots. If you are a tad OCD line 'em up, and if you're not put them in whatever random pattern you would like.  Just make sure they are in a single layer.  Bake at 415 for about 20 minutes until the tater tots are nice and crunchy.  Set the casserole on a heat proof surface (hot pad?) and sprinkle evenly with the cheese.  Serve with a large salad and call it done.  This tastes very good, it's easy, and yes we ate it sans kids and lived to tell about it.

Forgive me again for not thinking to take a picture of the Christmasy thing in the daylight. My intentions and actions have not been coinciding much lately.  I am not sure what happened with all these nutcrackers.  I started buying them for Son2 when he was a little fellow. I think during storage from Christmas to Christmas some kind of hi-jinx has gone on and there has been a population explosion in the Sterlite container.  If I remember to take a picture tomorrow I will replace it with a daytime shot and if I forget, well, I will be shooting par for the course.

 These guys are living this Christmas on a marble table behind the love seat in the den.  They tend to fall over a lot, because the love seat butts right up against the edge of the table and we accidentally hit them often.  The 4th from the left on the 1st row is our kamikaze nutcracker.  He loses various body parts on a regular basis and has to undergo surgery every year.  He was one of the first ever purchased and has been "loved" quite a bit over the years.

As an aside, it is a little known historical fact that the nutcrackers visited the Baby Jesus.  When the kids were young they would put them by the creche hanging with the wise men.  I guess our visitors to the manger brought gifts of gold, frankincense, myrrh and pecans

Saturday night we were lucky enough to hear Joey Alexander, a 13 year old true jazz phenom from Indonesia.  He has a natural musical ability, skill and touch on the piano that lies far beyond his years.

Though "My Favorite Things" is not a traditional Christmas song it has morphed into one in the recent past.  I could find no traditional holiday song but really did want to share his incredible talent. If you ever get a chance to hear him do yourself a favor and go.  He is truly amazing.
My Favorite Things, by Joey Alexander


  1. I can honestly say I've never had a tater tot casserole. I keep asking myself what have I missed? lol

    The only real Christmas tradition(or traditional purchase)in my little family has been a yearly family ornament and/or one for each of the kids when they were younger. It was sad last week when I shipped off my Daughter's ornaments to her as it signaled that she was a grown-up now and has her own home/tree to decorate and will no longer be coming back for Christmas. 8-(

    1. You have missed a sad little meal only! Maybe it is my redneck roots showing when I assumed everyone had eaten a variation of tater tot casserole before.

      Since I have only sons and taking all their collectibles is not exactly in their wheelhouse, I still have them at my house. Son1 has a papier mache Santa collection that hopefully will be going to his house next year. I keep telling them the purpose of these collectibles is to go live with them instead of living here and spawning more collectibles.

  2. I love Tater Tot casserole! Unfortunately, no one else here does so I don't get to have it often!

    1. Well come on over. I always have the beginnings of one on hand!

  3. I'm not sure that I've had tater tot casserole either, but I do love tater tots and think that it would be a guilty pleasure of mine--if I ever made one.

  4. Like I said, I think my redneck roots are showing!

  5. No worries mate, we are all in crazy mode this time of year!
    We keep all the nutcracker figures in DJ's room but it is more of a threat.

  6. I am being suffocated by Christmas junk. It is time for some of these things to move on.


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