Yum Hey What's for Dinner Mom?


Thrifter Share

A place to share your thrifted finds whether you plan to keep them, sell them or give them, share them here first.

I had a first this week, a whole driveway full of junk, flowing out into the street with a giant sign that said FREE on it. The sign only said FREE from one way so I passed it the other way slowly because it was in the street after all and when I got past it I looked back and saw EERF in my rear view mirror. I asked my co-pilot to confirm it did in fact say free, he did and so we whipped a u-turn in about 2.3 seconds.

It looked to me like someone had abandoned the house and everything they ever owned had just been dumped on the driveway. UGH. The people in the house peered out at us as we walked up and then shut the door, probably to give themselves privacy but it felt weird.

I needed to upgrade my filing cabinet to a 4 drawer after we started our own business this past year and this one was just sitting there with 4 or so other filing cabinets. I liked this one because it looked old and the other ones looked like cheap walmart versions. This one is pretty sturdy yet the co-pilot and I were able to load it ourselves. That was good because there was no help forthcoming from the house.

I also grabbed this big pot, it's cheap but I like the handles so I'm thinking planter...I know you're ALL surprised by this. HA!

I also grabbed this little copper bottom sauce pan, not ReverWare but still cute and usable and I have someone who could use it. So, WIN!

My son grabbed, and they're not pictured here, a solar powered calculator, an old I MEAN OLD shovel and a 3 hole punch. We didn't fill the car, although we could have!

Leave a link and comment and maybe share this post on pinterest or your Facebook page? Thanks for stopping by!


Eat Write Retreat 2015

Eat Write Retreat 2015 was held in Chicago and if you don't know how much I enjoyed this event by the absolute glut of ‘grams tweets and Facebook posts I’ve shared you must need to hear it one more time--I loved this conference. I’ve never come away from a conference so fully recharged, so ready to be successful and with so much real usable knowledge. Marketing, publishing, food swapping(!!), legal help, social media wrangling, pitching, it was all there plus the tie that binds, connecting.

EWR is such as small event that, so intimate, that you consistently run into the same bloggers again and again, the chance for real conversation is good, real good. And because it was so intimate you found yourself talking to people you might not normally talk to you. Which is a plus. That woman you didn’t know 10 minutes ago is suddenly digging in her purse for a bobby pin because you forgot yours and your hair is a mess. The person across from you took a better photo and instantly shares it with you via text because you’re right there, face to face. 

Can we talk about the sessions? I mean as if the entire community feeling wasn’t enough you also get real sessions with real people who inspire you. Want to write a book? YOU CAN! Want to be better at social media? HERE'S HOW WE DO IT! Want to become a marketing genius? SURE LETS DO IT! 

All of this might sound overwhelming to some, like you’re not enough just like you are and sure some may take it like that, I felt reinvigorated, ready to roll out and do this right. So ready, I sat down Sunday night a wrote out a 5 year plan with real steps to take today, tomorrow and in 6 months. I’ll be checking in with my plan and making sure I stay focused on a weekly basis. In a year I’ll sit back down and see how it all looks, make adjustments and move forward with year two. 

If you’re thinking about Eat Write Retreat I say go for it, the price is so little for all that you get. Insider tip: buy the early bird ticket and get a nice discount. 


 And flaming cheese.


Mango Hot Sauce

Should I say AWARD winning Mango Hot Sauce? Yes, yes I should say Award Winning Mango Hot Sauce and guess what? You're getting the recipe for it!  It's also so much more than a hot sauce, it's a mild sauce, it's a delicately sweet and enticingly different sauce. Thin enough to drizzle and yet hearty enough to dunk in, it's the kind of sauce you'll reach for again and again, for every meal. Which means right about now I need to make another batch because it's starting to run low. See?

This Mango Hot Sauce won second prize in the Eat Write Retreat Food Swap sponsored by Safest Choice Eggs and Emily Paster co-founder of the Chicago Food Swap. A food swap is just that, a group of people coming together to swap food they made or grew. Food Swaps normally don't involve  prizes but this was a special Food Swap just for bloggers at Eat Write Retreat and bloggers need prizes, amiright? If you're interested in a normal (no prizes!)Food Swap and you're local to the Palmer area well you're in LUCK because I'm starting a local Palmer Food Swap, stay tuned for details.

Back to the EWR Food Swap. When I was pondering what to make for the food swap I knew it had to

  • be made in advance
  • get transported down to Chicago (just a mere 3,500 miles) and sturdy enough to make the trip
  • be accessible to many, taste wise
  • and if possible contain eggs(contest sponsor)
I was legitimately stumped on what to make, I mean meeting all those parameters and having a product people would actually want felt impossible. I dreamt up a hundred different ideas and in the end I finally just asked my husband what he thought I should make. Of course he hand an instant answer "LAURACHA", the name we call my recipe for a sriracha style sauce. Initially I said 'no' but after double checking that the rules didn't say 'no canned products',(that's a duh right there, it's food swap!) I decided to make a kinder version of Laurancha, one with mellow sweet heat instead of fiery hot heat. I kind of thought bringing a swap item without eggs from the sponsor in it would make me ineligible for winning a prize, however I realized that I liked the idea of putting my best foot forward, even if it meant I might not win. So much for that, eh I took second place and won an 8 piece Calphalon Cookware set!

Mango Hot Sauce 

*note* this needs to soak for 24 hours and you will also need a food processor to puree it

4 cups white vinegar-you can use apple cider or a combination of vinegars
3/4 cup of honey
1 tablespoon+1 teaspoon of salt

4 large red sweet peppers
1 1/2 ounces dried Puya peppers, available in most supermarkets by the salsa and taco shells
12-14 garlic cloves
1 large mango

in a large jar mix together the vinegar, honey and salt
remove the stem and seeds of the red peppers, then cutting them into roughly 2x2 inch chunks, stir into the vinegar
remove the stems and the most of the seeds from the dried peppers, add into the vinegar
peel and crush the garlic, add it to the vinegar and peppers 
remove the skin and pit from the mango cut the flesh into bite sized pieces, and also add them to the vinegar mix
stir to combine the peppers and vinegar one more time then cover loosely with plastic film and let it sit for 24 hours, stirring at least 3-4 times 
after 24 hours carefully pour into a dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium heat
reduce heat to a simmer, cook and stir for 10 minutes or until the sweet peppers are soft when poked with a knife
cool completely
here's where it gets fun-if you like a MILD sauce, and this is the version I made for the food swap, remove 90% of the puya peppers BEFORE the final pureeing, you'll get a the nice mild sauce this way
if you like a HOT sauce leave all the puya peppers in for the final pureeing of the sauce
hot or mild it's totally your choice and of course you can vary the heat if you like it a little more spicy leave more peppers in 
once you've figure out how hot you want it and adjusted the peppers accordingly puree the remaining peppers in batches in a food processor for 2-3 minutes, be sure to cover the processor with a towel or you will end up wearing the hot sauce, which isn't a LOT of fun
once you've pureed the sauce run it through a strainer and remove all the solids 
you can skip this part if you don't mind your hot sauce a little chunky
it's done at this point, you can reheat it and put it in jars for a hot water bath to seal for longer shelf life or if you prefer just put it in jars in the refrigerator and use within 2-3 weeks

Now what to do with ALL the peppers you took out before you pureed the sauce?? Here's a little tip this recipe can be a TWO FOR ONE type of deal. When I make a mild version with just a little heat I go ahead and puree up all the peppers I pulled out and make a chunky hot sauce for my husband. It's full of pepper seeds and all the extra peppers, it's terribly hot, extremely thick and he loves the added bonus jars I make for him when I make a mild sauce. If you don't have anyone to make a wild chunky hot sauce for you can always give the leftover peppers to your chickens, mine love them!


Thrifter Share Catalyst Ranch Chicago

A place to share your thrifted finds, whether you plan to sell them, give them or keep them, share them here first.

You guys I found a HAVEN for thrifted goodies, a way to gather a much as you can find AND turn it into a business. I just attended Eat Write Retreat at Catalyst Ranch in Chicago and it has the best curated collection of USABLE thrifted stuff I've ever encountered. Mind you I've only ever seen thrifted collections in the home, never in commercial application but still look at just A FEW of the little corners of this gorgeous space.

And then check out the video (QUICK ONE) of this neat little sitting room that we didn't use but I lusted over.

Link 'em up!


Eat Write Retreat 2015 #EWR2015

sing it with me now

All my bags are packed (lies)

The lists are made

Each line checked off (I WISH!)

As I go

And already I'm so excited I need to smile

Ok that was lame but it's true I'm heading out to Eat Write Retreat soon and I'm running around making lists scratching things off, adding more, only to cross them off because I already did them. What did I forget? I can't remember!

I've never left in June for a conference before and it's a little disconcerting. At this time in the summer my feet should be so dirty from gardening barefoot that they're unrecognizable but this year they're clean, toenails painted because OHNO I have to wear sandals in front of notmyfamily. I also have 3 roommates I don't want to disgust so there's that too. Usually my garden is weed free, I've given up that dream and have run with the a few 'weeds won't hurt' mantra, so far so weedy.

Leaving in June also means that I'll be where it's DARK at night and yet still warm, not sure how I'll handle that one because we're at 20 hours of light here right now. YOW! Dark nights mean chilly nights up here so that's definitely a change for me. And finally my hair in humidity is going to be insane, it expands in volume, height and width when confronted with warm moist air. The heat is something I'd normally be worried about but it's been so warm here the last month that it's probably the least of my problems. And yes I'm packing rain gear too, ugh.

What is Eat Write Retreat? Oh good question, it's a 3 day intensive program with hands on activities, FOOD, speakers, FOOD, workshops, FOOD and lots of inspiring people. It's all built around making deep connections with other food writers and giving in-depth exploration of different topics. This year there's a food swap which I'm excited to participate in and they're even holding a time to get professional head shots done.

I'll be sharing my food swap recipes here in the next day or two, one is edible and one is not but made from edible items. Curious?

Here's a hint!


Thrifter Share

A place to share your thrifted finds whether you plan to keep them, sell them or give them, share them here first.

Solstice, finally. I love all the light, I really do, but at some point it becomes monotonous, you go to bed in half light, wake up at 2 am in half light, the sun burst forth at 4:30 am and on and on. Add in the heat, high 80s for the last week and the fear of forest fires, about 70,000 acres burning right now with 6800 lightning strikes just yesterday and you can maybe see why I am ready for a change. Will the solstice bring that change, not immediately but it is the turning of the seasons. I like it, don't get me wrong but I think most Alaskans get to this point when we're ready for a change.

I got out a few times shopping this week, my kids have become amazingly tolerant of my screeching over to stop at rummage sales and the like, they're also happy to wait in the car if they don't feel like getting out.

We went to an estate sale and found a box of vile vintage ornaments. The woman assured me they were cherry picked and there wasn't anything left to find in the box. Then went on to ask 10 bucks for the box and she kept trying to throw in these cheap pieces of junk from Wal-Mart saying she felt bad because the box only had a few good ornaments. I finally tossed in a bike/shopping basket and called it good.

I found some awesome ornaments though. I went through the box once I got home, donated the stuff I didn't want, especially the cheap crap from China and discovered 24+ awesome vintage Christmas ornaments.

And because the world is like that my good friend sent me a text this am and asked if I wanted an old train case she had and I said "WOULD I!!" You all know how I LOVE to store my ornaments in train cases right? So I got new ornaments and a new box to store them in with 12 hours of each other. Life is good!

Are you following on instagram?

How about the Pinterest board?
Follow Laura Sampson's board Thrifter Share on Pinterest.

You should, there's a lot to see on them!

Anyway link 'em if you got 'em!

10:30 pm in Alaska

And almost midnight


Easy Cheeseburger Pizza

Pizza meet Cheeseburgers, Cheeseburgers meet Pizzas. This recipe for Easy Cheeseburger Pizza will make everyone happy, unless you're a vegetarian, then it probably won't make you very happy. Everyone else? Extremely happy!

What do you make when half the family wants cheeseburgers and the other firmly believe that pizza night is PIZZA NIGHT. Period. End of story. I'm usually pretty lax about pizza night, whatever is in the fridge goes on pizza--pesto, peppers, 'shrooms, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, ham, eggplant, really you name it I'll pop it on a pizza. Tonight when I dug around in the fridge I found a pound of hamburger I needed to use up and decided I'd just make burgers for dinner. OH NO that wasn't happening, we have a dedicated crew of eaters around here but burgers on pizza night were fighting words. They still ate burgers just on a pizza. You know what? It was some of the best pizza I've made in a LONG time.

Easy Cheeseburger Pizza
dough for 2, 12 inch pizzas--buy it pre-made or double the first recipe on this page
1 TBSP olive oil
one pound ground beef-if you have a little less that's fine or ground turkey or chicken would work too
2 tsp garlic granules divided
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup tomato sauce
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
4 cups chopped lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
topping sauce
4 baby dill pickles- about 3 inches long
1/2 ketchup
2 TBSP mayonnaise
1 TBSP mustard
pickle juice to thin it down

if you're making your own dough get it made, then roll it around in a mixing bowl with the olive oil then cover it getting rising
brown the ground beef, drain the fat, add the 1 tsp garlic granules, the Worcestershire sauce and then taste for salt and pepper, add as needed, cover and set aside
mix the tomato sauce with the rest of the garlic granules and warm over low heat
meanwhile make the topping sauce by putting all the ingredients except the pickle juice in a food processor and pulsing it, scrape it down and pulse again
taste it, if you like it great! if not add more of what you like, maybe more pickles or mustard? Or more mayonnaise
once you get it right add a TBSP of pickle juice so you can dribble it over the finished pizza if you want to, if you'd rather dollop then leave it alone and don't add the juice
time to make the pizza
preheat the oven to 400˚
pat out the pizza dough on pizza pans OR in cast iron skillets roughly 10-12 inches in size
bake for five minutes to get the crust firmed up
pull them out spread the tomato sauce evenly between the two pizza crusts
top with cooked ground beef and divide the cheese between them, save a little for garnish if you want to but it's not necessary
bake until the cheese is melted, about 12 minutes, maybe a little longer depending on your oven
once the cheese is melted it's time for toppings
divide the lettuce and tomato over the top of the pizza
drizzle the topping sauce over the top, garnish if desired
cut and serve while hot

A word about the tomato sauce base, if you want or prefer to use pizza sauce by all means please do, it's your call. I made a rather plain sauce my base because I wanted the topping sauce to shine through not an Italian flavor. Now it could be made sauceless but toppings have a tendency to slide right off if you don't have some sauce on the bottom.

As usual this is inspiration for you, take it, make it yours and go from there, there is no wrong way here.